Here’s a slightly magical idea for a story game: every time you blink in real life, your webcam notices and the game skips you forward to the next scene. That’s how it goes in Before Your Eyes, a new vignette ’em up released today. Having played a bit of it myself, I’d describe it as ‘Edith Finch meets 30 Flights Of Living with blinking’ if I were required to briefly introduce the concept in a blog post, which I was so I did. Have a look in the trailer below.
There you are, dead. You’re aboard the boat to the afterlife, sans mouth, telling your life story to the Ferryman (a suspiciously dishevelled dogman) by reliving memories. This means you, player dear, are watching vignettes skipping across the days and years of a life, with a few decisions along the way. And to control all this, you’re using your eyes as a left-click to select things or cut ahead to the next scene.
While the game suggests every blink will advance time, nah, that’s only at specific points. From what I’ve seen, scenes will play out a fair bit before you reaching a point where blinking will move you on. Often you’re free to blink, or need to blink over specific things (selected by mouse) to interact. I had expected lots of fast cuts because of that implication, but it often takes its time. I’m okay with that. I don’t know how long I could go trying to drink everything in without blinking, unless the game was only a few minutes long. I mean, I would be interested to see another game try that too.
You don’t strictly need a webcam, mind. You can play by clicking. But it’s not the same. The blinking does feel a little bit magic.
I’m still in childhood on my playthrough, presumably with a great many years still to come, but I’m keen to see where it goes. The writing is more natural and funny than I’d expected, and the Ferryman framing story has some intriguing sinister vibes. Yeah, I’m in.
This is what became of Close Your, a game I first saw way back in 2014. After that, it ran a Kickstarter campaign to help fund development, including a whole new look. The original was quite 30 Flights Of Loving, while the new style actually reminds me a bit of those other vignette ’em up titans: Turnfollow, makers of games including Little Party and Wide Ocean Big Jacket. Before Your Eyes is a good-looking game.