While a majority of games are excessively violent, As Far As the Eye is a nice reprieve from the hack ‘n slash, guns a blazn’, and so on. This is a game for players who just want to sit down and go through something quiet and beautiful, but not without its own set of difficulties and challenges. It is a video game after all.
After launching the game, the player is met by the title screen which offers peaceful piano music, nature sounds, and a lovely image. Rest assured, the game is equally as lovely. From here, players can choose whether to start a new game, continue, or start a campaign. It’s advised to start with the campaign. When I began, I started a new game and had no idea what to do but, hey, dealers’ choice. The campaign allows the player to go through five chapters with different characters and it is here that the lore is introduced and here that my review begins.
This is by no means my favorite genre of game, not even something I would choose to play often but it is also a game I was happy to explore. The main characters are little nomads called pupils and the entire plot is to get them from point A to point B. As Far As The Eye is without any kind of battle system and therefore without stress or adrenaline-inducing levels. The player is immersed in a world that requires attentiveness to nature. In the first chapter of the campaign, the player learns that there is a giant flood that is pushing all the little travelers to one area, the Eye. Acting as a sanctuary, the Eye houses all the pupils. They live together until the flood passes and they can go their separate ways as nomads once more.
It’s a gentle story that holds the player’s attention throughout the game until, finally, all the pupils are together. As far as gameplay, it’s designed much like a strategy game. The player can click on different hexagons to move the pupils, assign them to certain tasks such as harvesting, and let them rest in certain places. Easy enough but the challenge comes in the number of turns.
Turns keep the player engaged, forcing them to use their time wisely and to choose tasks with care. There is a limit to the number of steps a pupil can take and naturally certain areas take more steps such as mountains. Strategy is key in this game though the campaign is generally easy-going as it behaves as a sort of tutorial.
The main goal of each level is to collect certain items to either help build a bridge or otherwise help the pupils move from one location to the next until they reach the Eye. Harsh weather conditions and illness may be other stumbling blocks the player must maneuver around. Keeping the land and the pupils happy and healthy a must.
Another challenge that I personally found most interesting was that some areas can be over-harvested in which case the pupils (and the player) are punished to a degree. In this sense, As Far As The Eye takes extra care to emphasize the importance of harvesting only what you need. If not the earth suffers. It is also important to take everything harvested, or as much as you can, to the next level, that way nothing is put to waste. If only this mindset could reach us here in the real world.
Pupils take on animal forms for certain jobs. For a pupil to successfully harvest, they take on the red panda form. This was interesting to me because it was my impression that the little guys would always be in animal form, however, that is not the case. Pupils must first transform into the correct animal at the caravan before setting out to do their job. An interesting game mechanic and cute too.
Overall, As Far As The Eye is worth the play, even if it’s just the campaign. The music is calming, the gameplay is calming, and it offers a deep and necessary message that might change how some players view the actual world. I recommend it for sure.
This review is based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher.
Simple yet intriguing
Gameplay - 7/10
Design - 9/10
Plot - 6/10
+ Beautiful soundtrack that complements the characters, plot, and design + Fairly easy strategy gameplay that keeps the player involved but doesn’t cause stress + Well thought out plot that isn’t too complicated but is interesting nonetheless
– Not much action, which can be boring to some – No real character development, just simple characters for a simple story
Emily is a horror enthusiast and horror writer, a passion that has bled into the video game world. Her two favorite dark fantasy/horror games are Bloodborne and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. Read more...