The Longing is a point-and-click game about waiting based on an old German legend about a ruler who goes to sleep in an underground cave. It commences with a giant King addressing his trusted servant, the Shade — a yellow-eyed, beak-nosed, sooty-looking figure — whom he stands on the palm of his hand. Upon informing his servant that his power is waning, the King tells him that he will sleep for 400 days to regather his strength, after which time his servant is to wake him so that he may “end all fear and longing.”.
Once the King falls into his slumber, the Shade repairs to a smaller nook within the sprawling underground network of caverns where he contemplates the weight of his task. The 400 days of which the King spoke equate to 400 actual days; so, if you start The Longing and come back after 400 days, you’ll discover one of the game’s different endings. (I read that there is a consequence if you try to cheat the game by changing the time on your computer.) Mercifully, the Shade strikes upon an idea in his journal as to how he can make time go faster by decorating his sparsely furnished abode to make it more habitable and by reading.
By exploring the neighboring areas
the Shade will come across items such as paper, books (real books courtesy of the Gutenberg Project), coal, tools, and mushrooms that glow in the dark.
The Shade can use paper to create drawings to decorate the wall of his home and fuel to create a cozy fire in a small fireplace. The mushrooms can be used as a makeshift flashlight or ingested to bring about a vision.
Soon after he sets about exploring, the Shade finds a door that takes a couple of minutes to open,
so slowly does it move on its old hinges?
Seeing the door open wide enough for him to pass, I naturally tried to send him over the threshold, but he didn’t budge and instead observed: “I could squeeze through already,
but not to wait until the door is open in full glory would be blasphemy.”
Wait, you must go for two hours, a week, or a month for some of the events in the game to occur.
The Longing makes a mockery of the idea that games depend upon instant gratifications.
It is a minimalist game that creates ample space for the mind to wander and
philosophize along with the Shade as he considers his existential condition, his loneliness, and his lack of control over his situation.
The part of me drawn to The Longing is close to the same piece of me that appreciates some of the Hungarian filmmaker Béla Tarr’s work. In both,
there is the purposeful use of glacial pacing to stimulate thought.
Wandering through caves so devoid of distraction, it’s natural for the imagination to take flight,
for the mind to look for meaning in the situation.
THE LONGING Patience Free
The Longing takes 400 days to play. Not like, in-game days,
I mean 400 full rotations of our actual real-life planet. The game launched today,
so if you make a start right now,
you should have it finished by Friday, 9th April 2021.
It’s a sort of adventure/idle game where you look after
a Shade trapped underground whose only goal is to wait.
ABOUT THIS GAME Unusual mix of an adventure and an idle-game.
Play as a lonely Shade, the last servant of a king who once ruled an underground kingdom.
The King’s powers have faded, and he falls asleep for 400 days to regain his might.
You must stay in the earthen palace until he awakens.
As soon as you start, the game inevitably counts down the 400 days – even when you stop playing and exit the game.
It is now up to you to decide what to do with your solitary existence beneath the soil.
Don’t stress yourself; you have plenty of time.
Choose your playing style:
Start the game and simply come back after 400 days to see how it ends.
You don’t have to play the game at all. But the Shade will be even more lonely without you.
Or explore the caves and collect items for your comfortable underground living room.
Just send the Shade to take a stroll – the walking speed is slow, but luckily there is no need to hurry.
Read tons of classic literature from Nietzsche to Moby Dick right in the game –
or at least have the Shade read them. After all,
time goes by faster if you learn to keep your mind occupied.
Ignore the King’s commands and advance to the outer regions of the cave. It will be a long and dangerous journey into darkness…
- Slow exploration of a vast, hand-drawn cave.
- Atmospheric Dungeon Synth soundtrack.
- Various endings.
- Lots of well-hidden secrets.
- Time-based puzzles.
- A lonely but cute protagonist.
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