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As Far As The Eye

Posted by GG Goblin On September - 28 - 2020

The flood is coming, but that just means finding a dry place for a big party.

 
Unexpected Studios’ strategy management game is literally just that, unexpected. Fans of the genre will be quite at ease with most of the usual mechanics in this genre, but As Far As The Eye is something quite different. With rogue-like features and a tribe that is constantly having to move towards their final destination, As Far As The Eye, which is available now on PC, offers challenge and excitement without the need for any conflict. It also happens to be very zen-like game…

 


 
The player takes on the role of the wind, a god-like presence in this fantasy world that serves to guide the inhabitants, known as Pupils, to safety. This mostly calm and peaceful world goes through cycles, and every now and again a massive flood comes and renews everything. The flood is not seen as a threat, but rather part of life, and the Pupils of this world accept that, even accepting that if they should perish in the flood, it was meant to be. But they don’t just stand there and wait to get washed away. With the flood coming, they travel to the one place in this world that will remain safe, the Eye. And so, the players job is to guide the Pupils to the Eye, where they will wait for the waters to subside.

 
The player is presented with an overworld map showing the routes that will lead to the Eye. The player will get to choose which of the branches they take, with each one offering different resources and requirements. The nodes that make up the gameplay elements on the map, known as Halts, are procedurally generated, and so offer a different experience each time, and players are given the resource requirements to move on to the next Halt, which represents overcoming a problem of some sort, such as needing wood to fix a bridge.

 


 
Playing through a Halt, a hex map is presented that will mostly be grey and need to be explored to discover what resources are actually available. The Pupils travel on a large beast that acts as the main base once it has settled, and the player will have to choose which hex to settle on. The Pupils will then come out and can be set to work, gathering whatever resources they need. The big thing here is that the flood is coming, and so the Pupils only have a set number of turns before they will drown. While the number of turns can seem quite generous, the requirements to leave the Halt and move onto the next will mean that players will have to be as efficient as possible.

 
Aside from the flood, the biggest risk of failure comes from food, as each Pupil will consume food each turn, and keeping on top of that can be quite a task. Different foods can be collected, and some of these can be refined through special buildings, allowing Pupils to need less food and thus survive longer. Once the food is all gone, the Pupils will die fairly quickly. There are a selection of different buildings that can be constructed through the game, mostly revolving around the various resources that will be needed, from stone and ore, to herbs and wool. The cheapest way to build these involve a set structure, but paying more for the mobile version of buildings will mean that not only can it be moved to nearer a resource as they run out, but also that it can be packed up and carried to the next Halt, providing there is enough room.

 
While each Halt has its set goals when it comes to the resources needed to move on, anything else can be carried through to the next Halt to make life a little easier. However, the pack animal only has a certain number of slots and each resource has a different shape on the grid. While a simple resource may represent as a row of four on the grid, a mobile building may be a very tricky shape and players will quickly find themselves playing a thoughtful game of Tetris as they try and squeeze everything in, or risk having to leave stuff behind.

 


 
The player will never have a huge number of Pupils under their control, but each Pupil is individual and grows along the journey. Some may be more proficient as gatherers, or wood cutters, and setting them to these jobs will see them become more capable and unlock options on a skill tree to buff their work, and even let them specialise. It is always worth setting the right Pupil to the right job. Knowledge gathered will also lead to more buffs to make the Pupils life that bit easier, but then minor disasters, those that come before the main flood, will always counter any sense that the game is becoming too easy. The player will be warned about incoming calamities, but learning how to deal with them will only come through experience. As Far As The Eye is not an easy game, and the random nature only makes things more tricky.

 
Fortunately, failure always offers insight into how the game can be better approached. There is a small campaign available outside of the main game that will teach the newcomers the basics of how to survive. It doesn’t go into enough detail in my mind, and is much more of a tutorial than a full campaign, but it is welcome nonetheless. The visuals are serene and nice to look at. The Pupils take on different anthropomorphic animal looks depending on which task they are assigned, which is nice even if it doesn’t make a lot of sense. The soundtrack is calming and suits the gameplay, adding to the laid-back presentation.

 


 
As Far As The Eye is a very well made game that offers something a little bit different in the resource management genre. Some may not be happy with the random nature, and others may struggle with the difficulty, but the game is far deeper than it may seem, and is packed with a serene charm that is difficult not to like. Strategy fans looking for something different will not be disappointed with As Far As The Eye.

 

 ★★★★★★★★½☆ 



 

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