As Far As The Eye (PC) Review

By Eric Ace 19.10.2020

Review for As Far As The Eye on PC

Styled as a city-builder and mobile village simulator, As Far As The Eye has players control a small group of creatures, in a rush to harvest resources, and push onto a new map before they are killed by a tidal wave. With random maps, resources and events, runs can come to quick game overs, and despite the happy graphics, this is very challenging for perhaps the wrong reasons. Purposely designed as a type of game that players will likely fail over and over, the learning curve takes away from some of the fun or simplicity that might have been a better choice.

Graphically, this looks a lot different than how it actually plays. At its root it is a simplistic small-city builder that feels a little like old Age of Empires games in commanding villagers to harvest food, wood, animals and so on. The catch is that each map has a very short time limit, such as 50 turns, in which a lot has to be done, although there's not a lot of time to do it. Balancing between food, wood and other resources, players have to strike fast, get what they need, and move on. The rush element is unique as was kind of fun, despite some of the other problems.

This title feels rough at this stage, to be brutally honest. The story is confusing and seems like it might not have been the developer's first language, and the translator lost something along the way. Players play a type of wind god that guides a few villagers along the path of running from increasing ocean tides to a central mountain, where everyone meets-and-greets until it is time to head back down to the new lands once again. Along the way, each map has to be accomplished quickly against the ticking clock, hoping the correct resources were saved up to allow passage to the next map in a type of rogue-like experience that will result in a lot of deaths and restarts.

Screenshot for As Far As The Eye on PC

The art, music and general direction gives the idea of a peaceful experience. After all, these creatures are running around with balloons tied to them, they dance while fruit comes out of the ground, and so on. It is a misdirection, though, as this requires a brutal adherence to a narrow strategy that will result in quick death if not followed. It is to the game's demerit its difficulty and narrow path to victory, as it would be far better served being more forgiving and allowing other options of success.

Gameplay on each map revolves around you deciding what resources each character should be harvesting. This is complicated by many of the resources running out quickly, or needing special structures to build. It forms a type of puzzle that is actually enjoyable, such as deciding whether to prioritize perhaps getting more wood quicker, or starting to branch off into new resources as an example. Racing against the clock, this is one of the strong points.

Screenshot for As Far As The Eye on PC

On top of this is a simplistic skill tree system where villagers earn experience for their tasks. So a gatherer will slowly get better at gathering, such as bringing back more food each time. Other upgrades could be things like moving faster, or gaining more of other resources. It is a fun little addition that helps specialize characters, but ironically feeds into the major problem of the game.

Randomness is not necessarily a killer in games, after all rogue-likes are somewhat built on it, but this falls a little too hard into it where it stops being fun. There are several problems of why this occurs. First there are bad luck events called 'Vagaries,' which generally can't be avoided and strike at random. These can be starting fires on your resources, blowing up buildings, killing villagers and so on. A single one is harsh, and two can usually end a run.

The other major issue is how tight of a rope the entire game secretly requires. On the face of it, it seems like a nice fun deal of sending animals around to harvest resources, but unless there is a very strict chain dedicated to harvesting food, the tribe will starve sooner or later. The issue is each tribe person requires a lot of food each day, and a single harvester is insufficient to maintain this status quo. Therefore there is a least a second person who is swapping in, building new areas to get food, and largely helping the first. This means out of the three or four total characters on each map, half or more and dedicated just to the food, leaving the last one to do everything else. When a vagary or a bad map pops up, this is usually enough to finish off the tribe.

Screenshot for As Far As The Eye on PC

One other annoying issue is how bad the UI often is, and there are plenty of times villagers get lost behind obstacles. Even clicking them or their balloon does not actually select them far more than it should. It is lucky there are only a few to control, but this issue is pretty bad. It is surprising when games are released and simple things like selecting units is still an issue that is not yet resolved. Map control did not feel intuitive either, as plenty of times the rotation, zoom and direction often were 'good enough' because it couldn't go the way that was desired.

Underneath all this seems like a fun game that would be much better served if it was a more casual experience. It needs some help cleaning up the UI big time, and modifying the general loop of lowering the harshness of luck and how much food is required. If these are accomplished, it could actually be a pretty fun and relaxing title of trying to save this tribe. As it is now, it is simply fighting an uphill battle that isn't that fun to do.

Screenshot for As Far As The Eye on PC

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Issues aside of UI problems such as losing villagers, hard to click, and so on, the general pace of As Far As The Eye belie its "relaxing" appearance. Requiring a very strict, lucky, and strategic play from the beginning knocks a lot of the fun off. With how much dedication there is simply to food and not starving, it leaves little room for exploration, trying new things, or really anything beyond a narrow strategy. It is not that the difficulty ruins the game, it is that the difficulty and luck swings require such a narrow avenue to take, getting in the way of fun.

Developer

Unexpected

Publisher

Goblinz Studio

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

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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