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Before Your Eyes Review – An Emotional, Eye-Opening Experience

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Blinking for the first time in Before Your Eyes is a truly magical moment. I don’t mean pushing a button to close your virtual eyes. Using the power of a webcam, Before Your Eyes follows when you blink, allowing you to progress through a wonderful narrative adventure title from GoodbyeWorld Games. It may seem like a new gimmick on the surface, but the mechanic is used so inventively that it significantly enhances the already powerful storytelling that fans of narrative adventure titles would be wrong to write it down as shallow gimmick.

The players take on the role of Benjamin Brynn, a lost soul who has already passed away. At the start of the game, you meet a dog smuggler who forces you to relive the events in Ben’s life, starting from birth. All of this to impress a being called the Gatekeeper who wants an honest assessment of the kind of person Ben was.

Blinking when prompted will skip days, weeks, and sometimes years in Ben’s life. I am impressed with how the game accurately recognizes eye tracking. I’ve never had an issue where a blink didn’t register or my camera needed to be recalibrated. I have never felt disoriented or uncomfortable playing using eye tracking, but these factors vary from person to person. On that note, it’s good that there is an option to play the entire game using traditional mouse clicks, but I think you’d be doing yourself a huge disservice by doing so.

After playing Before Your Eyes twice, once using blinks and the other using the mouse, I think the story loses some of its magic by playing only with traditional control inputs. Closing your eyes and then opening them to a whole new scene creates the incredible feeling of reliving a life through an old-fashioned View-Master toy. Ben’s memories are fleeting, and the Mechanic sells that point perfectly. Yes, I have sometimes been disappointed after I blinked involuntarily and moved the story forward sooner than I would have liked. However, it didn’t bother me for a long time because I found it to impart the dreamlike quality of the game and the feeling that even the dearest memories were even fading away – when we hope they weren’t. .

Some of my favorite moments involve closing my eyes the better to listen to muffled conversations or so that my childhood best friend can leave a heartfelt note without embarrassment. It’s also just more fun to “look and blink” instead of pointing and clicking on objects. Even playing with your eyes, you still use a mouse for other actions like connecting stars in the night sky to write a cosmic message or to keep the beat with a piano tempo. These interactions are largely basic but are still delicious.

No matter how you play, the story of Before Your Eyes is a heartfelt story that brings me close to tears time and time again. Despite its pleasantly whimsical plating, the narrative’s themes of depression and existentialism hit hard, as did the understanding of the meaning of life from the perspective of a person who despite having a large family and born with gifts prodigious, has difficulty finding personal fulfillment. The writing is serious and thoughtful, and the story takes unexpected turns culminating in a final bittersweet message that lands harder than I was prepared (in a good way).

A great story needs great characters, and Before Your Eyes has that in spades. Ben’s parents, a caring but demanding mother and an adorably clumsy father, are lovers. The same goes for Chloe, your mischievous neighbor who comes across as a truly endearing child that you can’t help but want to impress and hang out with. I was surprised by my dedication to the cast in such a short time, but the superb performances and well-written dialogue do their job and cheer me up towards the characters.

Throughout history you will make choices, but I was disappointed at how little impact they have on the overall narrative. Don’t worry too much about whether you want to go out with your friend or sleep well for your grand piano recital; this is one of those games where you just pick the colors to paint the road rather than creating whole new paths. Since the game only takes about an hour or so, it’s worth replaying just to see a few of these scenes, but I wish my decisions had more weight given the sheer number of choices presented.

Before the Your Eyes story leaves me in shock at the end, it’s a memorable journey worth doing everything you can to play. You rarely get more of a never-before-seen in-game experience, and Before Your Eyes largely nails the execution of its main hook. It’s a concept I’d like to see explored in a follow-up, and I couldn’t be happier that something like this exists.

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