THE LONGING (PC) Preview

By Athanasios 13.01.2020

Review for THE LONGING on PC

There simply is no other game like THE LONGING. Crafted by Studio Seufz, and published by the people that brought you Unforeseen Incidents, this piece of software is a unique blend of a simple point-and-click adventure, and an 'idle game' that continues "playing" on its own, even when you shut off your system. Some might think "What are you talking about? I've seen titles like this before! Well, no. You haven't. In THE LONGING you mission is to wait underneath a mysterious, chthonic kingdom for 400 real days. Alone. After spending about a month in it, here's a look on whether this is worth the wait… in more ways than one.

'WAIT…' says the loading screen, summing up the experience in one word. The Shade, the cute elf/goblin-like protagonist, takes its sweet time when walking around, the rusty, ancient doors need a few hours to open, going to a marked checkpoint is done in real time, and the "puzzles" tend to revolve around waiting about a month for a puddle to fill so that the Shade can reach the other side. Luckily, there's no rush. In most video games, you work toward something. In THE LONGING that 'something' is slowly working its way towards you. You have been tasked by a certain King to stay put in his underworld realm for 400 days. 400 real days that count even when this is turned off.

One can follow the commands of this mysterious ruler, or defy him, and exit the caves. Trying to escape this realm needs time as well, but it's probably faster than waiting for 13 months, right? On the other hand, what will happen if you actually do stick around? There are a couple of things to do here. You can find tools that will help you delve deeper into the labyrinth, items to decorate your humble room, and even books, musical instruments, or colours that will keep you entertained. In the end, though, these caves are mostly empty. If it weren't for the time-based "obstacles," with some taking whole weeks, anyone could do everything in less than 10 hours or so - slow walking or not.

Screenshot for THE LONGING on PC

Why play this then? Well, if you are to enjoy THE LONGING, you should not approach it as a traditional adventure game. This is about getting wholly immersed into the character of the Shade, and experience... its experience. In strict, gameplay terms, the Shade will spent the majority of its time plodding from one part of the cave to the other, occasionally finding an item, or do something equally simple. In reality, this is a cerebral kind of deal, where most things will actually happen in your brain: "Should I wait for 400 days? Should I escape? What will happen then? Am I truly alone in here? Should I even bother with this quest? Why do I keep coming back to it?"

The absolute loneliness, in combination with the larger-than-life countdown imposed on the Shade, will affect people in ways no other video game could ever hope to. Yours truly, usually a very methodical man, who explores game worlds in a disciplined, organised way, would frequently find himself telling the Shade to just take a random stroll, or have it sit in its armchair to read Moby Dick. All actual 1000+ pages of it. Of course, such a title needs a very strong atmosphere, something that this thankfully has in spades, with its fairytale-esque, beautiful (although not as varied), hand drawn underworld, and its very fitting ambient OST, which has a subtle medieval feel to it.

Obviously, this isn't an easy recommendation. It's a niche title that will only appeal to a specific crowd, especially since it's not really a 'game' that you 'play.' Of course, being an Early Access title, it isn't perfect even for that small group of people. While this is definitely more about atmosphere rather than having tons of things to do, it could certainly have a bit more in terms of variety, like more items to find, tiny pieces of ambiguous lore similar to Dark Souls, and a bigger map that's more challenging to explore, with more imaginative puzzles than "Wait for a week for moss to grow."

Screenshot for THE LONGING on PC

Final Thoughts

One way to beat THE LONGING is to start the game, turn it off, and wait for 400 days... but this way you won't get to experience a very intriguing "adventure" that's more about getting immersed in the role of the lonely protagonist, and the mysterious world that will be his home for about a year, and less about... well, doing typical video game stuff. Sure, most will actually hate this, but if a fan of neat experimental titles, keep an eye on it, as it's not only one of the most unique of its kind, but it's also very well made.

Developer

Studio Seufz

Publisher

Application Systems Heidelberg

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  n/a

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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