B is for Beyond Eyes

Beyond Eyes is a narrative game that tells the story of a young girl named Rae. Her cat has run away and she has to find it. Lest you think this plot is too simple, there is a twist: Rae is blind.

I was intrigued to see how this would translate to gameplay. Each level starts as a blank slate, literally. The landscape is only white, and as Rae moves through it, the path unfolds around her and objects become visible to you the player. Your task is to explore an environment that you can’t initially see, and to build up Rae’s mental map of her surroundings.

Initially completely white, the environment fills in around you as you explore.

One tool that Rae utilizes is her sense of hearing. For example, she encounters a fountain in the first level. She associates this image in her head with the sound of dripping water. In a later level, she hears dripping water and fills in the image of the fountain in the spot where the sound is coming from. However, as she gets closer, she discovers that it’s not a fountain, but a storm drain.

The controls for Beyond Eyes are pretty simple. You can move using the joystick and you can interact with certain objects with the A-button. Some might call it a ‘walking simulator,’ but it’s a really pretty walking simulator. I enjoyed the painterly art style and the way the environment builds up around you. Another minor touch that I thought was nice was when you’re walking next to a wall or a fence, Rae would reach her hand out and run it along next to her. This small element emphasized that all of Rae’s other senses were being adapted and represented visually on the screen, not just her sense of hearing.

Rae reaches out to touch the wall.

I definitely recommend playing Beyond Eyes. It’s not very long, only a couple hours, but it’s a great experience. Maybe try and get it on sale, but definitely play it.

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