10/04/2020

๐Ÿ“š๐Ÿ•ณ️ The Longing | Preview | PC | "A CAVERNOUS ULTRA-SLOW IDLE ADVENTURE" ๐Ÿ•ณ️๐Ÿ“š @AnselmPyta #GameDev #IndieGames

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It seems strange to be writing a preview of a game that is released but, as the game takes 400 days (real-time) to complete, it felt the only way to proceed.
The game begins with an underground giant king creating your character (the Shade) from the palm of his hand and tasking you to watch over him for 400 days as he sleeps.

Following this, he promptly drops off and you are left to your own devices, wandering the labyrinthine caves and rooms that make up ‘The Kingdom’ and listening to him gently snoring.
Presented in a point and click style, The Longing is a very contemplative game very much about passing time. Your Shade will often comment on his loneliness and solitude to himself in an almost detached sense as if it is simply a fact that he has no control over and harbours no desire to alter his situation, it simply is.
These are probably the kind of thoughts you’ll ponder over as a player as you wander the empty corridors, picking up items and finding new ways to pass time. I drew a picture of ‘a friend’ (a spider) and hung it on the wall, read a few books (there are books such as Moby Dick which are in the public domain that are fully readable and included in the game) and hunted down parts of a musical instrument to spruce up the cave that the Shade called home. The music is a low, ambient drone that echoes as if through the caves themselves, completely gelling with the situation you find yourself in.

There are no quick ways to travel through the areas you discover beyond the ability to save waypoints which you can click on…but you will travel there in real-time, no fast travel for you!
The whole game moves at a glacial pace with some events taking hours or longer. I clicked on a door and the Shade advised me ‘this will take at least two hours to open fully…I may as well do something else in the meantime’. When you come to a locked/blocked door or passage, the Shade adds it to his ‘list of disappointments’. These comments along with the drawings that you can choose from and some other moments, hint at a far darker subtext to the game that I have yet to unveil. 
With the relatively abstract gameplay and design, The Longing feels almost like an existential, casual game designed for nihilists (good).
The sense of spending over a full year simply filling your days with ‘stuff to do’ and wandering around isn’t something that will appeal to everyone but it is an interesting experiment and one I intend to see to the end.

Although, I must admit that my approach to the game is very different from all the others I have played. I ‘check-in’ on my little guy every day or so and explore the game a morsel at a time. With no health or stamina bars to worry about, all that’s left is to explore, pass the time and listen to that ominously moaning music. Sometimes, that’s absolutely fine.
Right, I’m off to wander and wonder.

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