Beyond Eyes [official site], Sherida Halatoe’s game about a blind girl searching for her cat, is now out. I’ve been curious about this one for a little while so I picked it up to play for a few minutes before I wrote this news post.
I’m only a few minutes in, so at the very start of the story. Rae, the little girl has only just opened the garden gate and headed out to see if she can find Nani, a stray cat she befriends while she’s recovering from the firework accident which blinded her. Nani’s last visit was a while back and thus Rae is braving the world outside her home to find him. It feels like a children’s book in terms of the writing and the illustration style but what’s most interesting about the game is the visual representation of how Rae experiences the world, most commonly through what she can hear but also touch and, I think, scent.
Birds appear in the blank space which shows the area you haven’t experienced yet. They’re often in the middle distance as she hears their song from a little way away or as they take flight from a tree. The tree itself gets filled in as she moves closer still. Walls and fences appear suddenly in patches of what you thought were plain grass as you bump into them with your outstretched arm. I particularly liked the encounters with water immediately after you leave the safety of the garden. In one instance your minds eye has an understanding of a stream because of the rushing water noise but takes longer to discern the bridge which crosses it. In another you see a fountain exactly like one from the garden – that’s presumably how Rae interprets the splashing sound using her familiar references – but it converts to a drainage grate as you get closer and as more sensory information becomes available.
Obviously I’m still in introductory territory but I’m intrigued to see how the presentation of sensory information continues as Rae explores further.
Beyond Eyes is on Steam for £9.99 at the moment with an launch discount until 18 August