As Far As The Eye Review
You can find this review in video format as well.
With a team of three people, the developer studio of Unexpected decided to make a strategy game, unlike any other. Let’s explore the mystical world of As Far As The Eye and avoid the oncoming flood, together.
As Far As The Eye is a strategy game that plays very much like a digital board game. The best way to describe it in my opinion, would be a survival indie version of Civilization, with a rather unique look. In As Far As The Eye, we take control of a mobile village, a caravan basically, that tries to travel through the harsh environments of a magical world, with our only purpose being to reach the center of the world, the Eye.
Things get quite complicated though, quite fast in this cute little indie game.
A lot of the times, you will hear (or read) us say that we judge games for their ability to captivate us from the very first minutes we spend with the game. In the case of As Far As The Eye though, it is a very different experience. Just like any strategy game that is worth their salt, the game is complex and quite difficult to play. Do not take this the wrong way though, as the game offers very interesting ways to play it and can differ greatly for each player. The fact that it is such a complex game though, means that we need to spend some time with it before we even begin to comprehend what is actually happening on our screen.
Here comes the ingenuity of this indie though; the campaign.
The campaign in the case of As Far As The Eye, acts as the tutorial for the game. It lasts about a good full hour for inexperienced strategy (or should I say resource management) game players and it tells us all we need to know about the game and how to play it. From the very basics, to the very advanced mechanics, we get to explore every aspect of it, while being guided by very well-designed help messages. I thoroughly enjoyed how the developers managed to show me the story of the game while also explaining how I can play it and I am most certain that I would not have enjoyed the game if it wasn’t for the campaign.
If you want to go even deeper and make a comparison to other games of its kind, the only fair thing to do would be to compare it to games like Armello, Flame in the Flood or even Civilization. Unlike all of those games I just mentioned and despite the similarities that As Far As The Eye shares with them, the indie title by Unexpected manages to find its own place in the vastly saturated market of “pretty looking indies about survival and resource management.”
Having mentioned The Flame in the Flood, I do have to say that the aesthetic of the game heavily reminded me of that raft-surfing survival game. Despite the fact that they are two completely different games, the survival aspect as well as the way the game looks, definitely made a connection in my mind and that only made me want to see more. It is as if the developers wanted to get all their favorite inspirations in one place and build something awesome with it.
And so they did.
Gameplay wise, the game offers everything you’d expect in a strategy game that tackles with the theme of surviving. Gathering resources, building all sorts of facilities, expanding on the map, exploring and generally adventuring through the unknown are just a few of the many things you can and will have to do in As Far As The Eye. An intricate perk system for your pupils to get better in time through the things they do, a bunch of different procedurally generated circumstances to find yourself in and a roguelike system that allows for a new adventure every time, all make up for a very good combination of mechanics.
On the other hand, the story of the game is quite simple yet very interesting. The whole “we are all going to drown” situation makes you work towards a certain goal and keeps you on your toes. It’s been quite a few times that I played game that did not really manage to make me feel motivated to work towards whatever goal it set before me. In As Far As The Eye, we feel connected to our tribe and we try our best to take care of it. All the vagaries, natural disasters and everything else good or bad that can happen to us, is directly connected to the safety of our tribe. Ensuring we make it to the end is actually a stressful yet enjoyable mission to try and accomplish.
The game looks great, plays great and gives a challenge that will make players wanting to play again and again until they can manage to beat the game. I read that a lot of people actually found the game hard and the developers even commented that this was how the game was supposed to be. Having said that though, they also added a custom game option where players can adjust the difficulty for themselves. This is proof of how much the developer team is listening to feedback and how willing they are to accommodate the needs of their player base in order to make the game more enjoyable.
Always a great sign when the developers behind a game are there to listen and react.
The game did have quite a few bugs when I personally tried, but nothing too serious that prevented me from fully enjoying the game. I even lost a couple times during the campaign tutorial and even then, I was actually still having a blast with it. Then again, maybe it’s just because I like this type of games and I have the patience for them.
I have to say at this point that, I have heard a lot of opinions about, “harder” games (as some may call them) that go a bit slower. Unfortunately for the market that indies need to appeal to in today’s world, somewhat slower strategy games will always find it a bit hard to find a place in everyone’s library and heart. As Far As The Eye though, is a smaller-scale resource management survival game that will reward you with plenty of fun gaming hours should you decide to give some of your time to learn it through its well placed tutorial-campaign.
You can follow the development of the game on the studio’s discord channel.
Watch the game’s trailer here.
~Konstantinos “Kelfecil” Christakis
We would like to thank the developers/publishers for providing us with a copy of this game for coverage purposes. As a non-commercial press website, it is our honor and our delight to be able to provide our opinion on it.