Here’s an idle adventure about solitude and loneliness. Your task is to wait. And it takes 400 days to complete the game. Huzzah!
Inadvertently released at a perfect time, this is a title ideal for self-isolation, personal reflection, and introspective musing.
It’s from Studio Seufz in Stuttgart of that there Germany. Founded in 2017, the head honchos are Stefan Michel, Benedikt Hummel, and Anselm Pyta.
We’ll leave it to them to provide a synopsis for this unusual title:
"You play as the last servant of a king, who once ruled an underworld kingdom. Now his powers have faded and he falls asleep for 400 days, to regain his might. It is your duty to stay in the earthen palace alongside the king until he awakens."
So, in total solitude, way below the surface, you wait. And wait. For 400 days.
It’s oddball concepts like this that often prove a hit in the indie game world. Think of Untitled Goose Game—what may seem a waste of time can really capture the imagination.
THE LONGING is such a game, which has received much press and gamer coverage.
In part as it’s such an out there game idea. But, also, with its timing on the whole coronavirus lockdown thing.
The character you control is a Shade. And as soon as the game starts, the countdown begins.
Your duty is, quite literally, to hang around waiting for the king to wake up.
But, even when you stop playing and exit the game, the countdown continues. So, it really does take a full 400 days to complete.
And that means it’s up to you what you do down there. Potter about in the caverns? Fine. Read Sartre’s Being and Nothingness and take occasional glances at the screen? Sure!
Or, just don’t play the thing. Come back after 400 days to see the ending.
But the general idea is to go around exploring the caves, basking in the glory of your total pointlessness. Kind of like Getting Over It, it’s a game for a specific type of person.
The point is to revel in loneliness. The Shade has living quarters and can read books such as Moby-Dick (actually in the game), or ignore the king’s orders and go off exploring.
Without much surprise, this means the game is plodding—it kind of depends who you are as a person how you’ll take that.
You’ll either bore of THE LONGING rapidly and go and do something else.
Or you’ll embrace the moment, solve some of the time-based puzzles, and know that it’ll all be over in minus 400 days and counting.
Here’s a brief clip of how the opening sections play out.
Apparently, there are multiple endings. They’re dependent on what you do during the 400 days of solitude.
Some players have hacked the game to reveal the endings, which you can now watch on YouTube.
Right, from a review perspective it’s an odd one. It’s kind of difficult to rate it, seeing as we’re nowhere near completing it.
The art style is eye-catching, we like the music, and we love the concept.
We’ll conclude with how it’ll instantly appeal to introverts. But the extroverts of the world will no doubt struggle with the game. Kind of with how they do with self-isolation.
Full marks for creative oomph—as an idea, THE LONGING is rather isolated and elusive in the world of video games.