Beyond Eyes
Gameplay 5
Graphics 9
Sound 8

Beyond Eyes is a beautiful but slow-paced 3rd person adventure about a blind girl searching for a lost cat. Each step of her journey paints the world around her in eye-catching watercolor pastels. Still, interactions with the environment are limited, and the game is devoid of puzzles or challenges. Nevertheless, if you are patient and can appreciate a game that is more about the experience than the challenge, then Beyond Eyes is worth a playthrough.

Gameplay: Slow-paced and easy, but also very unique and compelling.

Graphics: Beautiful watercolor visuals make Beyond Eyes truly look like a fairy-tale novel.

Sound: Very minimal, but the haunting soundtrack is quite beautiful

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Beyond Eyes

Developer: Tiger and Squid, Team17 Digital Ltd | Publisher: Team17 Digital Ltd | Release Date: 2015 | Genre: Adventure / Indie | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

Beyond Eyes is the tale of a young girl named Rae and a cat named Nani. After losing her sight in a freak accident, Rae spends her days confined to the familiar comforts of her backyard. It is here where she meets and bonds with the cat she named Nani. Unfortunately, Rae is left sad and alone when Nani no longer makes his regular appearance to visit her. Plucking up all her courage, Rae leaves the safety of her backyard and wanders out into the unknown to search for her little feline friend.

Although Beyond Eyes is not the first game to tackle blindness, it is undoubtedly one of the most unique. Whereas other titles use darkness and audio cues to convey the visual impairment of their protagonists, Beyond Eyes is a game with beautiful pastel watercolor graphics. The developer has described Beyond Eyes as a modern fairy-tale about finding courage and friendship, so the art style really fits this theme. Instead of darkness, Rae envisions the world around her as a blank canvass of pure white, and players control her in third person. As she recognizes things around her using her other senses, they appear in the world, so the effect is almost like walking through a painting as it is being drawn around you.

One of the other unique aspects of this visual style is that Rae can sometimes be mistaken about objects. For example, she knows what a fountain sound looks like because there is one in her backyard, but when she encounters one in the wild, it actually turns out to be a dripping sewage pipe. There are a couple of instances of this happening as Rae explores the unknown, and it hits home how reliant she is on her other senses to make her way around. This is highlighted in one level where after exploring for a while, it begins to rain. In the process, all the painted colors of your previously familiar surroundings are washed away. The game features an achievement for finding the “true” identities of all the things in the game, but it is entirely optional. The game runs on the Unity engine, and we didn’t encounter any glitches or crashes during our time playing through it.

Beyond Eyes doesn’t really feature any puzzles, and Rae interacts with the game world in a limited fashion. It is certainly not a title that will appeal to everyone, especially players who are not fond of so-called “walking simulators.” It took us about three hours to complete Beyond Eyes, and then we spent another hour getting all the achievements, so it is not a very long game.

While the concept of a blind girl setting off in search of a missing cat held a lot of potential, Beyond Eyes is very much an indie title and keeps its scope small and straightforward. Players simply direct Rae through her painted world and often end up in dead ends or behind obstacles due to the practically non-existent draw distance. Coupled with Rae’s languid walking speed, the game requires a lot of patience to play. Backtracking can be a real chore, but thankfully the areas in the game are small enough that Rae can ever wander too far off the proper path.

In total, Beyond Eyes features a prologue, six chapters, as well as an epilogue. The game only saves at the start of each chapter, but these are short enough that it isn’t a problem. Players can also select to start from any chapter that they have already cleared. This is useful for getting some of the achievements as many of them are easy to miss during your first playthrough. Beyond Eyes only uses a few lines of text at specific points to convey the story, but these are enough to create an emotional connection with Rae. There isn’t any speech in the game either, apart from a few occasions where Rae will call out for Nani during her search.

The music for the game is quite melancholic at times and becomes more sinister when Rae is scared. This can happen when Rae encounters loud or unfamiliar sounds, such as a dog barking. During these instances, her body language will also change, and instead of walking confidently with her hand tentatively stretched out near obstacles, she will hunch over with her arms folded. Maneuvering Rae through the environments can be done with either a controller or keyboard and mouse. Both methods work fine, and only a single button is used for interactions, such as picking up items or climbing over obstacles. Green swirls indicate these interactive spots, and it is easy to miss some of them.

Beyond Eyes’ beautiful watercolor environments, which are filled with greens and purples, are the game’s highlight, and the protagonist’s expressive body language is also impressive. The story, although simple, also makes for an emotional experience. However, it might be a tad too simple for some players, especially those who are not very fond of cats. We enjoyed our time with Beyond Eyes, but there’s no doubt that the game will be an acquired taste. Some players will love the visuals, atmosphere, and calm pace of the whole experience, while others will find it too slow and tedious for their liking. If you are a patient gamer who enjoys other walking sims and games where the focus is the journey and not the destination, Beyond Eyes will be an excellent fit for your library. However, if you are impatient and demand a lot of action and interaction from your games, Beyond Eyes will only end up frustrating.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows 7
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-3570K @ 3.4 GHz or AMD FX-6350
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: GeForce GTS 450 / Radeon HD 6770
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Storage: 1 GB available space
  • Sound Card: Windows Compatible Card
  • Additional Notes: Compatible controllers for Windows are Xbox 360 and Xbox One controllers. Other controllers may well work but have not been thoroughly tested.
  • OS: 10.9.5 Mavericks or later
  • Processor: Quad Core CPU
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: GeForce GTS 450 / Radeon HD 6770
  • Storage: 1 GB available space
  • Additional Notes: Compatible controllers for Mac OS are the Sony Dualshock 4 controller. Other controllers may well work but have not been thoroughly tested.
  • OS: Ubuntu 14.04 or later
  • Processor: Quad Core CPU
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: GeForce GTS 450 / Radeon HD 6770
  • Storage: 1 GB available space
  • Additional Notes: Compatible controllers for Linux / Steam OS are the Sony Dualshock 4 controller. Other controllers may well work but have not been thoroughly tested.

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