73 people found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
3
Recommended
0.0 hrs last two weeks / 8.3 hrs on record (2.4 hrs at review time)
Posted: Mar 5, 2020 @ 2:26pm
Product received for free

The 400 Days

The Longing is a difficult game to assign a single genre to, it’s a slow-paced, meditative exploration game mixed with idle-game elements (that’s quite a mouthful) . You play as The Shade, I like to think of him as a cross between a soot-sprite and the main character from Samorost. The Shade is a shadowy fellow who is brought into existence by an Ancient King with the purpose of waking the King up in 400 days. Sitting around doing nothing for 400 days isn’t exactly appealing, so you set off on exploring the cave you find yourself trapped in.

Everything in The Longing is related to time. There are activities that make time go faster, such as reading a book or drawing a picture (so you can actually finish it in less than 400 days). Time also starts to pass faster as you decorate your room. Then there are things found throughout the cave that take a certain amount of time. For example, there’s a door fairly early on that takes two hours to open, so you have to wait two actual hours for it to open (time out of the game counts towards all this, don’t worry you don’t actually have to play it for 9600 hours).

Your time in the game will be spent exploring the expansive, often confusing cave system. Some areas will having nothing but background in them, while in others you’ll find items to help you pass the time or other interesting things. In theory you don’t have to explore at all, you could just buy the game, play it once, and then wait 400 days, but I don’t see why you’d want to do that.

Positives:
  • The art is lovely. I think the character design (not that there’s much of it) is really nice, and the backgrounds are designed well enough that an expansive cave never feels boring.

  • This is a small thing, but my favorite feature is that the books in the game are actual books sourced through Project Gutenberg. If you want to, you can read through the entirety of Moby ♥♥♥♥ (and a bunch of other books) in-game. This is one of those things that doesn’t have a huge impact on a game overall, but is incredibly memorable.

  • Above all else, the uniqueness of The Longing makes it stand out from, well everything. I’ve never played anything quite like this, and I doubt I ever will. To be able to take such a unique idea and do it so well is very impressive.

  • The exploration is enjoyable with plenty of interesting things to find (and in most cases come back to after a certain amount of time). From my experiences so far, the caves are well designed and trying to figure your way around offers a nice little challenge.

  • The game’s atmosphere is excellent. Between the visual design and sound design, you really feel like you’re in a cave. You feel isolated, and yet there’s a strange sense of coziness in your little home area. It’s also a very peaceful game, playing it feels almost like meditation.

  • While the game does leave you to your own devices, The Shade does keep a little journal that include some hints towards what you may want to do.

  • You’re able to place waypoints at different points of interest which you can then tell The Shade to walk to which really helps cut down on the travel time to important places, you can just go off and do something else while he walks. You can also tell The Shade to walk to a random location which is pretty neat.

Neutral:
  • The Shade’s walk speed is quite slow. Typically, I’m not a fan of slow walk speeds, but I think it fits the game and adds to the meditative nature of that. Having said that I can understand why some people may be frustrated by how slow he moves.

Negatives:
  • The only thing I’ve really found frustrating so far is that getting up and down stairs is quite finnicky. If you’re walking manually (i.e. holding down the mouse button) it can be tricky to get The Shade in the right position to get him to go up or down. If you’re walking automatically (i.e. double-clicking to move to a point) The Shade often has trouble pathfinding when it comes to stairs and sometimes gets stuck.

Verdict:

The Longing won’t appeal to everyone, but if it does appeal to you then you’re in for a treat. It’s meditative, it’s unique, it’s mysterious. This is an easy recommendation if you’re into games that are more than a little different.

If you found this review helpful, please check out my other reviews over at Kemo's Corner.
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13 Comments
[H + R] "Meh" Mar 7, 2020 @ 11:06am 
@Kemo thanks for the response. I would have to disagree. How could you know you have been given all that the game has to offer with 2hrs? There could be major events within the middle or end, disappointing or extravagant. Just put it into prospective, the game is 400 days long. I'm not sure if there is a way to skip time in the game but if there isn't you've played less than 1% of the game. Of course this is an extreme example with the game being so long, and I of course don't expect anyone to play the entire game, but I feel like at least 10hrs might be nice before going full ham on a review. To me it's like watching a quarter of a movie, getting the feel for how the rest is going to be, then making an opinion based on that.

Again I really like the review and I think you're a good writer who clearly put a lot of thought into this. However, I don't think the review, with such little gameplay experience, can be entirely credible.
Kemo Mar 6, 2020 @ 7:43pm 
@Meh Glad to hear you like it, I understand why you'd question that but stuff like that is always very dependent on the game you're playing. If I wrote a review of AC Odyssey with only 2 hours, that'd of course be ridiculous. But for this game, it doesn't take long at all to be introduced to the main workings of the game and see a fair amount of it. A lot of this game is about discovering things, and I wouldn't want to write about that in detail anyway since that'd spoil the experience for others. Plus this is a game I'll be returning to, so I can always edit it if needed.
Kemo Mar 6, 2020 @ 7:41pm 
@DatWombat I definitely thought of your reviews and the games you play when I said that. Of course, I don't think there's anything wrong with those kinds of games, it just baffles me that steam allows that but you can't swear on the activity feed, in reviews, on your profile etc. without it being censored.
DatWombat Mar 6, 2020 @ 7:17pm 
Funny you should mention literal porn . I've played (and reviewed) my fair share of grossly socially-unacceptable titles. But I still find myself skirting Steam censorship with a collection of "placeholder" words.
[H + R] "Meh" Mar 6, 2020 @ 3:26pm 
I love your review and all, but how can you honestly make a good faith review of a game with only about 2hrs of gameplay?
IL PALLINO Mar 6, 2020 @ 12:53am 
Great review. I have to admit that I was laughing after I saw how Steam had censored out the title of... Ahem! A Herman Melville book about a whale.
Kemo Mar 5, 2020 @ 8:16pm 
Wild to me that you can have literal porn on steam but you still can't say a swear word in a review lol. But yeah it's a really awesome game
Sigmar's Sausage Mar 5, 2020 @ 6:41pm 
Lol. Steam censored Moby D.ick. Nice review man. Seems like a ton of positives
Kemo Mar 5, 2020 @ 3:44pm 
No need to apologize!
ሚስተር ሌባ Mar 5, 2020 @ 3:42pm 
Thx and sorry was my fault. English isn't my native language, searching for "idle" meaning I understood the concept.