Image Credit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yN6m2-oiby4
Brought to us from White Lotus Interactive, XING: The Land Beyond is a breathtaking puzzle game for Oculus Rift that has many things in common with old school puzzles games like Myst. This is not a puzzle game for the faint of heart, but those looking for a more challenging experience are in for a very memorable experience here.
The story that is behind the game is something that clicked with me right away. You play as “you” and you are stuck in a kind of purgatory. You need to go through these four different portals and this is so that you can free these trapped spirits so that they can move on. The spirits are tormented and need your help and some of the scenarios here are pretty damn dark. There is abuse, depression, and loss as themes that some of these spirits are suffering with. It is pretty hard-hitting, but the game handles it very well and I found myself not just wanting to help these spirits, but also know more about them.
So how do you help the spirits? Well, that is where the gameplay comes in. XING: The Land Beyond is at its heart a puzzle game. Each of the worlds that you go to in the game has a rather distinct theme. You have to play the game in a set order and what you do in one place can have a direct effect somewhere else. I find that this is one of those games that is very hard to explain to people as it is such an interesting experience.
One thing that I found very clever is that the game, for the most part, is made up of environmental puzzles and these are very well thought out. Nothing in this game feels like it is there just to “look cool”. Chances are anything that looks important will have some role to play. Each area has a new weather type of puzzle that you learn to use. Before you get to the endgame you have a ton of different things to remember! It can be daunting and some of the puzzles are rather cryptic which I feel may frustrate some players.
XING: The Land Beyond does hold your hand in some places if you need it so there is that. I personally felt that the learning curve was just right, but again, I can see some people getting annoyed with some of the puzzles. I do though feel that the story the game tells is more than enough to drive you forward and really want to help put the souls of these spirits at ease.
I played this with the touch controllers and felt that they worked very, very well. I never had any tracking issues and for the most part, I never got frustrated with the game in terms of its controls. Using the triggers to control your movement works very well and I did not have any kind of motion sickness when playing the game.
I was very impressed with XING: The Land Beyond. It is not just a really well-made puzzle game that makes you think. In terms of the story that it tells, I found this to be a game that really clicked with me. Not only did it click with me, but it is also a story that stuck with me for a few days after I had beaten it.
The presentation is wonderful
Lots of variety to the puzzles you solve
The progression is very clever
I found the difficulty curve to be great
One of the most impressive stories I have played through
Some may find some of the puzzles frustrating
Once you beat the game, not sure you would want to go back and play it again