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XING: The Land Beyond Review

Nifty puzzles with a long but bitter sweet story

Reviewed by Griffin on 28th October 2020 on Windows Mixed Reality

Review

While XING: The Land Beyond does not officially support the WMR platform, this entire review was played on a WMR headset.

XING's campaign for me was about 8.5 hours to complete, though I did miss a chunk of optional content that would have extended the play time by a few hours.

Speaking of which, I was really annoyed by how close I was to 100% completing this game but due to not realizing how much content was locked behind these optional segments, I was not focusing on it and missed out, however I was not driven enough to go back through and scavenger hunt my way through a second time.

XING is a puzzle game build around a series of strong narrative stories that take you through the lives of various different types of people from different walks of life.

Mild story spoiler skip if you want to avoid

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Though this was probably self evident to everyone else, I did not pick up on this until playing the game - The Land Beyond is the after life. You will be walking through the lives (and sometimes tragic deaths) of these characters, so fair warning this story may be rather depressing for some.

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This Specs I played this on:

i7 7700k

GTX 1080 Ti

16gb Ram

HP Reverb headset

Graphics & Presentation

Visually this game is pretty decent. It is going for a rather realistic style and manages to succeed in that task to about a AA level of quality. Unfortunately I did not find the game performed amazingly well on my system, given the level of graphics presented in the game.

I played the game on a mix of settings, sometimes not achieving the prettiest of results possible for this game, however if you have the hardware it could look much better than how I experienced it.

Sound FX & Music

The bulk of the game is fully voiced for all the main characters in the game except for one odd omission, which I am not sure if it was for a narrative reason or not. The voice acting is of decent quality, pretty good but not amazing, and I did find the performances a bit Gauche at times.

The music in the game was mostly subtle and in the background certainly fitting for the style of game but also nothing much to write about.

Gameplay & Immersion

The gameplay of this game is rather basic, and you shouldn't be expecting anything too crazy as it mostly involves walking around the puzzles and point & clicking, pretty standard stuff. The puzzle themselves are pretty neat and there is a good variety of them which is good given the campaign length. I never found it too repetitive, although it did get close to that point at times.

The puzzles mostly revolve around controlling the basic elements, such as water freezing and flooding, fire, raising and lowering rocks, and controlling wind direction. It also had some puzzles which required a controlled day night cycle. Some of them took a bit of thought but most can be complete without that much of a challenge.

It did almost make me feel like the Avatar at times.

My biggest complaint was (and this is due to being a VR supported title, not exclusive) I never really found the game truly using VR in any creative or unique ways. Since it could be played flatscreen it never really was able to get too crazy with what VR can do.

Controls

As mentioned earlier the game does not officially support WMR, however I found the controls worked just fine. I did rebind my movement control but that was a simple fair in SteamVR bindings.

The game does feature a few jumping segments and later a few times the game may throw you into the air which may lead to motion sickness in a small number of players.

Value & Replayability

Since this game has such a strong narrative story focus, I don't really see why you would want to replay this experience more than once unless you are a completionist and missed something on your first play though.

From a value proposition, if you enjoy puzzle gameplay then this would seem a pretty good value for the time it takes to complete, and the variety of puzzles it offers.

Final Thoughts

I wanted to give this game a higher score when I started writing this review, as it seems to check all the boxes for me - decent graphics and sound, story narrative, campaign, good length, however I found myself a little disappointed with my time spent in this game, and I think it was just because everything was good but just not great. The gameplay was good but not a great use of VR. The visuals were good but not one of the best I have experienced in VR, and the voice acting was welcome but not always impressive.

If you are expecting a sombre story based puzzle game then you might just love this game more than me, however for me I felt there was just something missing from making it a great experience.

  • Visuals are pretty good
  • There is a series of compelling stories
  • The campaign is a good legnth
  • The price is good
  • The performance could be better
  • The gameplay was not better than what could be played in non-VR
  • If suseptible to motion sickness a few spots may ruin your day

Reviewed by Griffin on 28th October 2020 on Windows Mixed Reality

7 out of 10

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XING: The Land Beyond
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