Preview: XING: The Land Beyond
White Lotus Interactive’s XING: The Land Beyond is attracting a lot of attention, and with due cause. It’s an adventure videogame that taxes the player’s minds more than their trigger finger, placing them in a lost world setting filled with traps, puzzles and hidden treasure. Furthermore, the whole things is absolutely gorgeous, as if you needed any more reason to invest your interest.
The small indie team behind the videogame are young and exciting; they are a group who have definite goals and know what they need to do to achieve them. However, despite the attention that they have earned from the videogame media and consumers alike, they remain modest about the achievements of XING: The Land Beyond, not afraid to admit that they have been heavily inspired by adventure titles that have come before them. XING: The Land Beyond, then, is a progression of a formula with new blood; fresh ideas for a genre that has found new stability in recent years.
The area available to VRFocus was a lush green paradise. A view of an ancient civilisation that had a much better understanding of their environment than modern man. They used their surroundings to house a catalogue of mysteries and intrigue: logical puzzles involving weighted balances, pillars that open new paths when given the correct alignment and a magic ability that allows for the change of time from night to day. Of course, the player is granted this ability and many puzzles involve it’s correct use.
The experience at present uses an enjoyable gameplay loop of exploration and puzzle-solving that is infinitely more exhilarating than it sounds on paper. The player may walk into an area filled with vegetation and a simple wooden structure, and it won’t be long til they realise that using the locally produced fruit as weights will allow them to raise a gate preventing them from venturing further. It’s a simple system that is tied together by intrigue; XING: The Land Beyond‘s clever design isn’t so much in the depth of it’s visuals or the drive of it’s character, but in the fact that each new area has the potential to be more compellingly decorated than the last.
The combination of two well worn templates doesn’t hurt XING: The Land Beyond, but rather makes it more approachable. Any gamer worth their salt will be familiar with the formula and, given the proposed Oculus Rift compatibility, will be able to jump straight into the enjoyment of the experience as opposed to fumbling with ill-informed mechanics. It’s a short step from the likes of Myst to the world of XING: The Land Beyond.
Of course, the Oculus Rift compatibility is what sells XING: The Land Beyond here at VRFocus: it’s a videogame that has so much potential in it’s own right, but when played in virtual reality (VR) those environments that are bursting with life will become so much more than polygonal drawings. XING: The Land Beyond‘s world is one which is incredibly inviting, and VRFocus simply can’t wait to see what it can offer both the adventure genre and VR as it continues to push towards release.