Beyond Eyes


Beyond Eyes is about a blind girl looking for her best friend, a cat. The most successful part of the game is how it conveys her blindness. Often she’ll hear something ahead, and from her limited experience she’ll think it’s one thing, but when she gets close it turns out to be something else. At one point what she thinks is a fountain turns out to be a drain pipe, or what she thinks is scary birds turns out to be cuddly hens. At the start her frames of reference come from the environment she grew up in. But over the course of the game you see her learn what the world is really like through experience.

The animations are superb, as the girl gropes and feels her way through the world, and the art direction is wonderful. Other parts of the game like the voices and music are merely good. They do the job, but are a bit blunt. It’s the same with the sound design. I don’t think a blind person will be able to play this, as many of the queues a blind person uses to navigate the world aren’t here. This is generally a problem with games, as sound designers only tend to aim for movie realism, and never true realism. If you have sight you might not think about it, but you can hear how big a room is, and you can learn to hear where objects are by subtle wind sounds or echo location. I’m ok with Beyond Eyes lacking these things, because no games has those, not even blind games.

The girl walks slow, which gives the game a slow pace. This felt appropriate, as the environments are quite detailed, and it’d be easy to miss things if it was faster. The story follows a reasonably good dramatic curve, with a few scares, and moments of joy and wonder. How it wrapped up made the journey feel worth it. A strong payoff will always give the whole experience a rosy tint, and that's definitely the case here. It’s not a long game, but because of the deliberate simplicity of the story it’s the right length. I couldn’t ask for more.

Peter HasselströmComment