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Review of XING: The Land Beyond by Stevens R. Miller

Stars - 40

Rating by Stevens R. Miller posted on Sep 9, 2019 | edit | delete


Don't overlook this one.


Lavish, relaxing, and challenging. This is another successful star in the constellation of Myst-inspired adventure games. Respectfully shameless borrowing from Talos, Portal, and even Antichamber blends with original elements to be exactly What You Were Looking For when you searched for more of what those games did best. The puzzles ramp up in complexity gradually, keeping play in the perfect challenge/reward channel that holds interest while avoiding either boredom or frustration. In an important departure from most games that manage to do that, this one doesn’t just make the later puzzles more complex. They do get harder, but a lot of the unlocking you do towards the end requires making sense of the setting as much as it requires figuring out the solution. That is, the environment is so rich with vegetation, structures, pathways, etc., that you will sometimes feel a bit overwhelmed at first encounter with a new puzzle. But, walking around and taking stock of what’s there will let you grasp each such situation fairly quickly. This becomes a significant part of how you’ll solve the most complex problems in the latter part of the game and it adds a lot to your sense of satisfaction. You’re not just coping with a long series of logic problems. Instead, you’re exploring your situation, learning what you need to know, and then dealing with what’s around you. We liked that.

Now, the developers have said they are coping with marketing problems. At the same time, they seem to think that a lot of those problems arise from us non-VR players thinking this game is only for VR, while their marketing materials seem to emphasize almost nothing but VR. I wish they’d stop doing that, but it seems they are deep into some kind of relationship with Sony and the PS/4, so maybe Sony is to blame for the over-emphasis on VR. Whatever the reason, let me be as clear as I can on this:

THIS GAME IS GREAT WITHOUT VR!

If like you liked Myst, Talos, Eyes of Ara, Myha, or any of the other adherents to the first-person wandering walking-sim religion, this is for you.


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Time Played: 10-20 hours
Difficulty: Just Right

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