The Longing (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Luke Hemming 28.08.2021

Review for The Longing on Nintendo Switch

When deciding on a new Switch purchase to while away the hours, for many the key to finding the perfect console companion is a title that will perfectly capture the feeling of intense loneliness, as well as questioning the existential meaning of existence and one's self… ok, so all that might not appeal to everyone which means that some probably won't like The Longing by relative unknowns Application Systems Heidelberg Software GmbH - a developer with a name as long as this game is. For the rest, however, what is on offer may be one of the most creative and fascinating titles ever to grace a game system. After a look at the PC version, here's another look, this time on the Switch.

When starting to write a review, almost every finished product follows a standard format, initial impressions, experiences, memorable moments. It's a nice little comfort net for most would-be journalists that ensure a quick turnaround and plenty of content. There is in any context, any chance of this whatsoever when reviewing such a unique animal. Based on the legend of German King Barbarossa, The Longing puts players in the role of a servant tasked with patrolling the caves below the mountain range of Kyffhäuser for 400 days until the king awakens. That's it really. That's the game. It's fantastic.

As the 400 days pass in real time(!) using the Switch internal clock to keep track, gameplay can be abandoned completely in favour of just starting the game running and running in over a year to awaken the king and end the experience. So much however would be missed in doing so, even if it doesn't feel that way at first. Every action or movement is an exercise in patience. The shade himself moves painfully slowly through areas which may be enough alone to put off most players instantly until the realisation that with 400 days to pass, what's the rush?

Screenshot for The Longing on Nintendo Switch

Physical objects amp the trudge, and prevent progress, as they are littered throughout the expansive network of this cave system. For example, one of the first obstacles stumbled across is a gap between one of the many stairwells. With no real jumping ability from your wanderer, a hanging stalactite provides passage across once it falls. Instantly the gaming brain begins to think about how this could be brought down until the shade proudly exclaims it should fall in about a week. Such a bonkers revelation is either going to bring a smile to the face or an instant console shutdown. Either return in a week and check, or find somewhere new to slowly plod over to.

The whole premise of lone warden is divisive for sure but in all aspects, utterly fascinating. By putting the time in, there is a lot to while away those solitary hours. While exploring the underground, items can be collected and used back in the hollow Shade calls a home. This can be anything from wood for a new bed, to a musical instrument providing some much-needed noise to break the silence. Each addition to the home will also allow the passage of time to progress quicker, removing a few precious seconds from the clock. A bookshelf can also be filled with multiple licence free books from Moby Dick to volumes of thought-provoking Billy Corgan-esque ramblings. From a dank and depressing initial first impression, your abode can evolve into a crystal lit, portrait filled wealth of knowledge and comfort. Its immensely satisfying, even more so with the amount of literal time put in to making it happen.

Quality of life features are minimal but included, most useful being the bookmarking system. Any room visited can be stored in a limited number of spaces, and walked to automatically. Incredibly useful for the daily moss or door check. One issue that did arise, however, is when playing in docked mode primarily, the screen did tend to dim after a few minutes leaving an already dank world pitch black minus two glaring yellow shade eyes. Be sure to knock off that screen burn setting and revel in the magic of automatic trudging.

Screenshot for The Longing on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Never has a game felt so divisive when scoring. For many The Longing is going to feel like one of the most ill-conceived video game notions in history. For others what is delivered is one of the most intriguing and addictive pursuits ever created for home media. With plenty to do, or not as the case may be, the freedom of choice is intoxicating. With so much time to kill also, every decision never feels like the wrong one. If things don't go exactly as hoped on day 1, there's still 399 days to set things right. Relax into that cosy armchair, grab a book, and watch that sand in that hourglass slip away.

Developer

ASHGAMES

Publisher

ASHGAMES

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

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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