Focusing on the land of the spirits XING: The Land Beyond has you starting an adventure after your death. This is in stark contrast to most other video games where death is used as a mechanic rather than the opening scene. While you might be dead the journey is just beginning as you uncover stories, puzzles, artefacts and all sorts of other secrets hidden within the fantastically presented dream like world of XING: The Land Beyond.
Starting off dead in an adventure game has its obvious benefits with players not worrying about death in the traditional sense giving you more freedom to explore and experiment without harm. It also allows XING to more easily throw away realism with unique landscapes and environments that are out of this world in some regards but have a foundation in reality. Each of these locations is accessed from portals that link together settings spanning from South American jungles to an island within the Pacific and an Asian mountain top. Locations are further varied with their own soundtracks although the differences between them is subtle and as a result feels somewhat repetitive to your ears.
Each of these portals serve as XING chapters and aim to tell the story of a hero long past through poetry and logical puzzles. This poetic based narration unfortunately fails to live up the the impressive visuals and settings that XING offers and often entirely detract form the immersion due to poor writing that does little to build a connection to the stories you are following. These poetic sequences within XING explore a number of philosophical and spiritual themes based around legacy, destiny and identifying the important things in your life.
Fans of titles such as Myst or Obduction will be pleased to see that puzzles are unique within the game with limited repeated mechanics although a number do share an environmental theme (fire, water, wind and ice) and use the games core day/night cycle. This variety and interesting design is appreciated given the fact that the overall difficultly level is extremely low with seasoned puzzle gamers unlikely to trip up at all through the roughly 10 hour adventure. That isn’t to say there isn’t a learning curve at play or a steady increase in difficulty but XING was clearly designed to ensure your adventure never comes to a stop because of an impossible puzzle.
It’s still easy for this game time to clock up to 15 or 20 hours though for players who opt to explore every inch of the environments or stop to take in the sights. Several hours of extra content also hide within the hidden rune system that XING: The Land Beyond employs to further unlock afterlife portals for new adventures.
All of this is wrapped in a framework of accessibility with no time constraints to your adventure and also support for colour blindness and even VR. It’s clear that the developers wanted to ensure no gamer was left out when it came to accessing XING: The Land Beyond and the dream like world they have created to house the puzzle adventure.
- Explore the afterlife with XING: The Land Beyond for Windows, PlayStation 4 and with VR support.
- Collect artefacts and runes through exploration to expand the story and game content beyond the base game.
- 4 varied portals and landscapes to explore in the core experience that each tell a different story.
- Vast array of unique puzzles that employ elements and a day night cycle as recurring mechanics.
- Experience jungles, mountains, deserts and islands that blend real world locations with dream like design.
Review Platform: PC