Could XING: The Land Beyond be a surprise Game of the Year contender?
I think I'm in love. XING: The Land Beyond has come out of almost nowhere, to completely blow my hair back. Now, I must admit, I'm a sucker for atmosphere and exploration, and XING has those two particular qualities in abundant supply. If you love nothing more than to explore a magical world in VR, stop reading this article and buy XING immediately. Play it for a few hours and then come back and finish this article. Yes, it's that freaking dope! The Land Beyond is exactly the kind of game that completely captures my imagination, and transports me to a magical, wonderful world of sublime mysticism and enchantment.
Again, I'm a sucker for this type of stuff, and this is absolute catnip to somebody such as myself. Exploring an enchanted tropical island of ruins and mystery, is exactly the type of experience that I've been looking forward to having in VR. The developer White Lotus Interactive, has stepped up to the plate, pointed to the left field bleachers, and knocked it absolutely out of the park. This is an explorers dream come true. Especially if you're susceptible to a powerful atmosphere and vibe that practically puts you in a completely different mindset. XING: The Land Beyond should be prescribed to depression patients, because I'm not sure there is a more uplifting and energizing VR game that I've played this year! I'm truly blown away by what White Lotus Interactive has done here.
The game is essentially a puzzle game, and the puzzles are mostly mild and relaxing in nature. Experienced puzzle gamers, might find the game a bit elementary, but the world is so enchanting and inviting, that I think this game will still be an enjoyable playthrough, regardless of difficulty level. You start off the game by exploring a mysterious tropical island, that has many mysteries to unlock. There are fountains of wisdom that offer you tips, and advice along your journey. Be sure to feed them coconuts. Yep, they sure love those coconuts and pineapple as well. You'll find fruit, and other items as you explore the lush, beautiful environments, and you'll need to use these items in various ways to solve puzzles. There is a day / night cycle to this game that is absolutely critical to the gameplay and puzzle solving. Certain puzzles can only be solved during the day, while others can only be solved at night. Some require a mixture of the two.
The true star of the show of course, is the enchanting environments that White Lotus Interactive has crafted for this game.
The overall production value and polish is at a very high level. This game just feels good to play. That's something that can't be understated, because so many VR games will have these moments of frustration and jank that can ruin the whole experience. The music is almost as enchanting as the visuals, and that's saying something. The game is certainly going for a certain style, and it's trying to set a particular mood, and the graphics and sounds are in perfect harmony in achieving this goal.
Normally, when I'm thinking about the price of a game, I'm thinking the developer / publisher is charging too much for too short an experience. This one is quite the opposite. While not necessarily a long drawn out adventure, there is still plenty of meat and substance with XING, and the $19.99 price is an absolute bargain considering the incredible production values on display. Still, the one thing I would caution is that this type of game is not going to appeal to all types of gamers. This is going to be one of those love it or hate it type games. I'm obviously in the "love it" camp, but there will be those that find the puzzles way too easy, and maybe the atmosphere and music just doesn't wow them to the same degree. There's no combat or any real fast action in this game. This game is for the type of gamer that likes to stop and smell the flowers. The gamer that plays at a slower and more deliberate pace, not in a hurry to get through this game and onto the next one. If there is one regret I have about XING: The Land Beyond, it's that I don't have the luxury to savor every minute of the experience. There is always another game calling my name.