A modern-day Myst for dead people.
The new Golden Age of exploration-focused adventures may very well be upon us. Journey snagged multiple Game of the Year awards in 2012, The Witness was a highlight of the PlayStation 4 reveal, and even Horn, ripe with sword-slashing and monster-slaying, is revered for its beautiful landscapes and immersive world. Into this atmosphere of placing environment over evisceration, puzzles over pugilism, steps XING: The Land Beyond.
The world of XING exists to be explored, enjoyed, and solved. There is no combat, no rush to any specific end. Your character will not be punished or attacked—and can’t, in fact, as they’re already dead. Your ethereal self is free to explore the expansive land—and mountains, deserts, volcanoes, and more—at your own pace, with only puzzles and poetry to distract from the breathtaking world around you.
First impressions of XING do feel very reminiscent of Myst, although updated to completely free movement and a more mystical feel. Many puzzles will require control over the elements themselves, whether you’re spinning a sundial to move the sun or causing a torrent of rain to flood a previously impassable chasm. Small snippets of poetry carved into rocks will provide hints to some solutions, although their origin is its own mystery.
Despite having no dialogue or inventory (you are a ghost after all), and minimal interactions, the world of XING looks wholly immersive. Developer White Lotus has created an impressive variety of landscapes to explore populated with unexplained manmade objects. From the soothing yet encouraging orchestral soundtrack to the surprising speed with which your character moves, every aspect of XING appears designed to make the player’s experience as fluid and enchanting as possible.
All of these features add up to an already impressive work worth keeping an eye on. Couple that with the fact that White Lotus is made up of three people, XING is their first game, and they’re still trying to fund it—and it’s simply amazing.
XING: The Land Beyond is planned for release in October 2013. If you’d like to help make it a definite reality and preorder your copy, head over to the game’s Kickstarter campaign. Hey, you can’t take it with you.