Don’t Blink, You’ll Miss It
Surrounded by darkness, I wasn’t sure where I was. An empty sea of nothing. A feeling of dread and hopelessness entered my body. As if a hand grabbed me, I felt my soul lift out of the vast ocean as I heard a voice say “Get away, you mucky fowls. That’s mine.” I am greeted by a dog creature who welcomes me on his boat. Everything he is telling me doesn’t make any sense. He tells me he is the Ferryman and that I need to blink. A feeling of loss, confusion love and regret entered my body. This is what you will feel playing Before Your Eyes.
Before Your Eyes is a first-person narrative adventure where you control the story with your eyes. Blinking to be precise. Developed by Goodbye World Games and published by Skybound Games. The story is told through a soul’s journey into the afterlife. Before Your Eyes takes the idea of a point-and-click game however, instead of clicking you are using real-life blinks. This is done through the blink interaction mechanic on your phone’s camera, so be sure to give permission to your camera before you play.
A Heartfelt Journey
The story begins with your death. You find yourself on the ship of the mythical Ferryman. He is tasked with shepherding souls to the afterlife. To help you pass on. He must learn the story of your life. Thus, sending you back to relive the most precious memories of your life. As you traverse through these memories by blinking not knowing where you’ll be going next. This gives you full control of the flow of the narrative, so long as you do or don’t blink. The journey is both joyous and heartbreaking, for the sake of spoilers I won’t tell too much about the story. You watch as your whole life flashes before your eyes. In which the Ferrymen will truly learn who you are. Will you be worthy to pass on to the afterlife?
Clocking in at ninety minutes and the small price of a Netflix subscription Before Your Eyes carries the emotional weight of a well-done indie movie, with the immersion of a great narrative story and many choices throughout the game. This is done under the creative direction of Will Hellwarth the creative director of Goodbye Games and the excellent writing of Graham Parkes. The music is composed by Oliver Lewin and really adds to the emotion and vulnerability the game aims for. The creative way Before Your Eyes uses technology is unique and unlike anything I have experienced in a game before. I truly want to see more games from this studio because of how ambitious and singular Before Your Eyes is, however, it does come with one problem.
The blink interaction mechanic though a great idea and one of the best parts of the game, it’s also the worst part. When it was working the immersion is unmatched by any narrative game I have played on my mobile device. However, in my first playthrough I had to pause the game multiple times to recalibrate the camera at key points in the story. This frustrated and broke the game’s immersion for me. I played through the title’s thirteen chapters multiple times and plumbed all the choices Before your Eyes has to offer. I was so invested in the story that I couldn’t put the game down.
While only having one criticism of the game, it remains a big one. I will say that playing Before Your Eyes is more than a game, it is an experience. The journey is joyous, sad and uncomfortable at times, but you’ll be glad you experienced it. Like a superb movie you’ll be thinking about it long after you’ve played. You’ll be talking to your friends about it like it’s a wonderful movie, whether you’re a hardcore or casual gamer. So, what are you waiting for? Don’t blink or you’ll miss out on a heartfelt experience you will not soon forget.
Is It Hardcore?
In The Best Way.
A wonderful narrative experience that makes you cry either because you don’t want to blink or because it pulls on your heartstrings.