The times when video games can often be defined according to a clear plan are long gone. For example, think of visual novels in which you make no decisions, follow the action, or some style simulators you move but no other dynamics are used. Longing, developed by Studio Chief at Stuttgart, which does not seem like a typical video game, also comes in this genre. Although longing is only available for the Nintendo Switch from April 15, 2021, this game has been on the computer for a long time. My wife read it in detail there, and I looked over her shoulder incessantly. In this test, I will take your own experiences head on and combine them with my observations to give you a better and broader insight into the game.
After 400 days, the ancient king must wake up.
© Application Settings Heidelberg
Let us deal with the basic paradigm based on the Kifhauser story of the sleeping king Barbarossa. In the game you are called Shadow, which was created by the last part of his strength by a mighty stone king, who now has to keep him out for 400 days to wake him up so all the nostalgia he will end up with. The unnamed shadow (or “sclerplord”, he was lovingly baptized by my wife) is provided with a small dwelling in which he would theoretically spend 400 days, waiting for the king to wake up. That’s what happens when you leave the game from that point: your shadow waits 400 days before the day you wake up. Is that sound really boring? That’s why soon after the introductory sequence you’ll gain control of the little creature so you can further explore the cave structure.
One question that keeps coming up about Longing is whether the game actually lasts 400 days or is it a marketing ploy. The answer to the question can be “So … um … well …” because, as already mentioned, you can leave the game for 400 days, only to find that the game is constantly advancing in the background, King is now awake, you have reached a point. But longing is more than just a simple passive game, if I had to categorize it, it would most likely be a one point & click adventure without the big and complex puzzles. Because longing is really something beyond the boundaries of a video game, i.e. a kind of experimentation and experience. Because in the end the game requires a lot of patience and life from your own motivation to grow beyond your real mission. You start the real game in your cave, which offers you a bookcase and a small table of paper and a piece of charcoal and an armchair in which the little shade will transform itself comfortably – by the way, in one of these moments your character laughs with satisfaction.
The water level has not yet risen. Patience is needed here.
© Application Settings Heidelberg
To give you an example of the somewhat sad basic principle of your figure, here are two options you can choose from when you go in the armchair: you can stare at the wall or read a book. The latter is a very interesting mechanic, because at the beginning the game offers a number of (English language) classic genres that you can manage, such as Moby Dick, and Spoke Zarathustra or Kafka’s Metamorphosis, which you can read page by page. Optionally, you can also tell your shadow to read the book itself, which can take several hours. It is at times like these that you first notice that the time in The Longing begins differently than usual for some actions. So there are always ways for you to speed up the time, which is why the minimum game lasts 400 days. For example, my wife liked 26 hours over two weeks.
In addition to pure tolerance, you can also explore the underworld with your shadow that the king once created. Although the good servant never tires of insisting that he never leave his little cave, he will carry out all your orders. So you can explore the neighboring caves and passages very closely, piece by piece, there are all sorts of things to offer you, but they are not discussed in detail for spoiler reasons. Because every new invention feels like a small achievement in The Longing. It’s sometimes that your shadow moves too, too slowly, too dull – hence the nickname Schlerflord mentioned above. Seeing the little boy strolling leisurely in front of him can sometimes be a little test of patience and it won’t stop there. Because everything related to the game demands a lot of time from you. In addition to the character’s sluggish walk, one spends considerable time waiting for a door to slowly open. Although the door was wide enough that the shadow could simply slip, it did not, but only acknowledged that attempt with the statement “I have time”.
Even if you sometimes threaten to lose patience with him: only the slightest shadow can carry over to your heart.
© Application Settings Heidelberg
You will need time. Because the door is an example of the interactive elements you encounter, it takes minutes, hours or days for you to work with them. So you open up more and more areas by bit, discover new items and decorate it your home or expand it in an effective way and move towards one of the corners. I can only say a lot about these things: You do not have to play until King wakes up. So you do not have to go all the way manually, the game gives you a “memorizing menu”. In it you can remember a certain number of places and let the shadow run there automatically. Alternatively, you have the option of wandering around aimlessly so that he may stumble into a place that was previously hidden from you. Because the game world itself is not exactly small and many corridors can be confusing at first.
One or the other of you may now ask yourself if something like this can be fun, Answer: Yes, it is possible. Longing is a very unique and fall experience that you can enjoy while doing something else on the page. But even if you actively grab the lead and wander a little shadow through the underworld, it will always be nice to discover new places, only to find that there is no progress at this time, because some circumstances force you to wait a while and then come back.
Getting yourself back into the game again and again is not the game, the main character. The shadow is somewhat reminiscent of the characters in Walter Moires’ Zamonian novels, someone you want to help from the beginning. Because, this game is about the very little boy living situations: created by a powerful man, released in this dark and hospitable world, he is alone and without any reference persons. With these points in mind, when the shadow first encounters a spider, it touches even more when it describes it as the first creature it has ever seen, its friend. Other than that, his mood changes from almost depressed when he wonders if the water level in a puddle is high enough to overwhelm him with confidence as he learns more about his surroundings and the world. In general, The Longing’s game world does a lot to stimulate exploration, which is also due to the style, which actually offers a wide variety even in the most boring environment. From a technical standpoint, this is nothing short of remarkable because Longing runs smoothly with its simple appearance and the loading times at the start of the game are moderate. Only downer: Rumble function cannot be turned off.