Help a blind girl find her cat in a world where you see without eyes

I watched the Bob Ross marathon on Twitch recently, where a whole new generation got to discover the magic that emerges from his brushes: how you can turn away for a moment and turn back to find a whole new world materializing across a blank canvas. The game Beyond Eyes can feel a little bit like that too.

You play as Rae, a young girl who lost her sight in an accident. After her cat Nani goes missing, she opens the gate to that leads beyond her garden and adventures forth to find her friend. Since she's blind, she—and you—have to rely on touch, sound and memory to paint a picture of the world in the blank spaces of the unknown.

If a bird sings in the distance, it'll light up a small area in the vast whiteness that cloaks the path ahead—at least until you draw closer. Gates, bushes and other obstacles often spring up in front of you suddenly, since you don't know where they are until you run into them. The world paints itself into being around you, in ways that are beautiful and surprising. Grass grows beneath your feet as you move, flowers bloom, bridges leap across rivers.

But things aren't always what they seem: what sounds (and therefore looks) like a sparkling fountain might turn out to be water pouring through a rusty sewer grate. What you thought was your cat rustling around in the bushes might turn out to be some local wildlife. Your other senses can help you paint an imaginative picture of the world around you, but until you actually touch it, you never quite know for sure.

The phrase "walking simulator" has become something of a pejorative in certain circles, but that's exactly what Beyond Eyes is. This is a game where almost all you do is wander, imagine, and watch the world unfold. But what ultimately makes it pleasurable is what makes so many "walking simulators" worthwhile: the chance to move through a different world in a different way, and perhaps to remember that not everyone walks through the world in the same way as us.

Developed by the Tiger and Squid, Beyond Eyes is available for Mac, PC, Linux, PS4 and Xbox One.

Notable Replies

  1. Does she get power-ups and enhanced attacks? I'm worried what if the cat turns out to be a jaguar or something.

  2. I feel that a game cannot tell a story unless it has conversation branches and a morality system. 0/10 for this one.

  3. Really like the art. Definitely going to try this one!

    Thanks, Laura.

  4. peterk says:

    This puts me in mind of the short Taiwanese animation Out of Sight (敲敲). The theme is nearly identical: Visually impaired girl looking for a lost pet.

    The 28 Plays Later podcast focused on "walking simulators" for part of an episode. I'd played a few in the past, but never really thought of them as a genre before hearing this.

    Generally I enjoy some sort of game goals (even violent ones) in my video games. That said, if a game's setting or situation is evocative or innovative in some way, then I'd be fine exploring that now an then even without a lot of action or problem solving.

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