With a Kickstarter campaign from 2017, Before Your Eyes is a gripping storytelling adventure that managed to win numerous awards before even raising all the necessary funds. It has a completely unique “blinking mechanism” that requires players to use a webcam and blink at key moments. The story of loss, regret and longing stands on its own and the newly discovered game mechanics complement it perfectly, without being unnecessary “gimmicks”.
Before Your Eyes emotional story begins as soon as your natural life ends. You start out as another soul wandering through the afterlife. You will soon find yourself aboard a ship owned by a strange feline creature known as the Ferryman, whose job it is to calm souls. In the two hours of the narrative, you immerse yourself in your past and relive the moments that defined you as human, ultimately leading you to your untimely and tragic death. Your life story can be the ticket to eternal peace as long as it can impress the goalkeeper.
Without counting too much, the act is phenomenal in playing the chords of your heart until we watch the game’s credits burst into tears. A little more than remarkable, as the only game that managed to affect us in the same way was The Last of Us. The narrative can hit hard because of its believable nature and how well the voices of characters like your dad, mom, or friend Chloe work. The final twist, which I won’t reveal for obvious reasons, totally got us with our defenses, and that made it even more heartbreaking and shocking.
As mentioned before, Before Your Eyes relies on completely innovative gameplay with flashing as the mechanic to advance the story. With your webcam, the game records your eye movements and in different sections you have to blink, close your eyes or keep them wide open. You still have to use the mouse because in some sections you have to select some objects and adjust the camera view. If you don’t have a camera then there is no problem either as there is an option to use the mouse like a point and click. Although, of course, you will miss a lot of its charm.
Using the eyes as a method of control goes much more into history and not difficult to register your movements well once you’ve calibrated things properly. The moments when we had to close our eyes during the dialogue helped make the important sections of the story more impactful as they need to pay more attention to the lines of dialogue. What we didn’t like, however, is that you have to blink during the sequences to progress and sometimes you accidentally move too fast because you can’t stand the blinking. We also notice that when you look away from the monitor the scenes advance a little more often than we thought.
While we enjoyed everything in front of your eyes, we have to admit that it is not the same for everyone. This game is entirely narrative, with interactions for the player mostly limited to advancing the story and improving the dialogues. If you are looking for a game that “keeps you busy” you will likely be disappointed with this one. At two hours, it’s pretty short too, as it lacks a replayable element beyond reliving the story to see things from a different angle.
With an emotionally strong story and innovative gameplay mechanics, Before Your Eyes is one of the most shocking indie games we’ve seen in 2021. His story is believable and comes to life with really good voice acting, very characteristic and helps in adding another layer of dip. That said, and while it’s excellent in many ways, its short duration and lack of interactive elements make it not for everyone.