Making Senses: Beyond Eyes Launches On PC

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

10 Comments

  1. Xzi says:

    Walking simulator about a blind girl on acid? I’ll probably pick it up on sale at some point.

  2. Yargh says:

    not sure if anyone has linked this yet, but the game strongly reminds me of this wonderful animation from a few years back: link to youtube.com

    • elderman says:

      If I remember right, the designer cited this video as inspiration when she made her indiegogo pitch.

  3. TechnicalBen says:

    Can I play this with my eyes closed and with tactile/sound feedback only? I’d love that experience first, and then with my eyes open.

    As at least one of my friends experiences life like this to some degree, such a game would really fascinate me, in the right way, as to learn how to help and understand others.

    • Xzi says:

      Not sure why you would want to, though. The art style is lovely and I imagine part of the appeal for many people. It looks a little too happy-go-lucky for my tastes from the trailer, but there are other titles I enjoy of the same stripe. I just don’t much care for the type of game in which you play as a slow-walking little girl.

    • Cerrida says:

      There’s a children’s book called “The Black Book of Colors” that you might find interesting. The entire book is in black, the pictures are tactile, and the words describe colors using multiple senses. The text is in Braille and English.

  4. Kala says:

    This sounds fascinating. I love the idea of her “translating” the images as she gets enough sensory feedback to make sense of it; and before that kind of using symbolic memories as placeholders.

    …If the little girl eventually comes across a dead cat, I will not be able to cope though.

    • Andrew says:

      Yeah, about that last sentence… Can you guess, what I’m implying, without actually saying it, ‘cause it’s a spoiler?..

      Oh, frak it! As someone who lost his cat couple of months ago, I was wrecked. T_T

      • iainl says:

        Thanks for the warning. As a fellow person who recently lost their cat, I think I’ll be leaving this one until my head’s in a better space. I’m sorry for your loss.