Base-building games are phenomenal. The attention to detail and methodical nature entice a niche audience. However, I’m often put off by the steep learning curve and the time-consuming ways. As such, when I was offered As Far As The Eye, I was a little hesitant. Its strange concept and all-consuming ideas appeared daunting. Thankfully, though, I went into this with an open mind and was instantly rewarded as a consequence.
Developed by Goblinz Studio and published by Klabater, this is a nomadic base-building game. What’s more, in a cruel twist, you must work to a timer and complete your goals as you move node to node and attempt to survive. Accordingly, this strange game of chess is methodical and challenging, but it can also be enjoyed casually. Therefore, it alleviates many of my genre-specific concerns.
As Far As The Eye overwhelmed me.
At first glance, As Far As The Eye is overwhelming and confusing. With weird names for each character and strange mechanics, I was lost. Yet, the developers have countered this steep learning curve with an excellent tutorial-like campaign. Accordingly, every key moment and concept is clearly explained to overcome each uncertain moment.
The aim of As Far As The Eye is remarkably simple! The tribe of pupils moves from node to node following a nomadic way of life. In each area, they hunt for resources and gather goods to further their journey. Moreover, they will work together to gather food, build structures, and explore weird locations. Furthermore, they’ll interact with friendly tribes, make decisions, and work towards their goal of reaching “The Eye”.
This all sounds lovely, but there is a chilling sting in the tail. As the tribe and its caravan hit each node, a timer begins. Every movement or action constitutes a turn, and each spent turn moves a deadly tsunami closer to your people. If you take too long, the tidal water will hit and everyone will die!
Knowledge is your friend.
What makes As Far As The Eye particularly great is the upgrade system. Every game element can be improved to offer a range of tactical choices. Consequently, the more tasks a pupil completes, the more XP they earn. This is then rewarded by upgrading each one to a specialised role.
Alongside this, you may improve each structure to reduce the cost of resources and increase gathering rates. This idea continues in the political layer of the gameplay. The tribe council can improve the way your people work. However, each upgrade costs you precious resources. Subsequently, you must balance improvement and your workload carefully.
The upgrades were phenomenal but cruel. Why? Well, you had to make painful choices over which ones to select. Instead of improving every element, you had to focus on one approach to get you through. Consequently, you’d adjust your tactics depending on the skills of your people, the resources you must gather, and the node you landed on. As such, there was some luck and a well-considered plan needed to get you through.
As Far As The Eye takes detail to the next level.
With so much going on, Goblinz Studio had to be careful not to add to the confusion. Thankfully, an incredible UI with multiple submenus keeps things clear. Furthermore, well-labelled structures and a honeycomb stage design help you navigate the world.
The UI was great, however, I cherished the level of detail and the wonderful sprites. Each of the pupils can morph into different creatures, depending on the tasks they are executing. This was simple but effective, as you can identify the role each pupil is undertaking. On top of this, the clean lines and easy-to-identify resource tiles help to reduce confusion further still.
A biblical tsunami is about to ruin your day, but the audio remains calm and melodic. Consequently, the sombre and chilled vibes juxtapose the impending doom that you face. I found this choice to be strange, albeit pleasant to listen to. Alongside the odd musical decisions, there were some familiar and excellent sound effects to enjoy.
An amazing console experience.
This genre is designed for a mouse and keyboard. Therefore, I was shocked by how great it was to play on my Xbox Series X. Every element of the controller layout works remarkably well. Furthermore, the excellent UI, responsive inputs, and wonderful tutorial sets you up perfectly. The developers must be applauded, as this is one of the best base-building experiences I’ve had as a console player.
Unsurprisingly, this oozes replay value and longevity. There are 3 game modes to choose from, cruel mechanics to overcome, and special events to experience during each playthrough. If things weren’t tough enough, there are cataclysmic moments that alter your approach. Whether it is lighting strikes, illness, damage to your buildings, or more, it puts a spanner in the works. As such, the nasty developers keep you on your toes and demand a flexible mindset.
As Far As The Eye is an incredible, albeit unusual subset of the genre.
Once you get over the initial learning curve, As Far As The Eye becomes an intuitive and intelligent title. With branching tactical choices, an amazing upgrade system, and a cruel ticking time bomb, this is an incredible, albeit an unusual subset of the genre. Moreover, the wonderful aesthetics, excellent UI, and unfair cataclysmic moments add to the brilliance. Accordingly, I loved it and I recommend that you buy it here! Can you overcome every hurdle and make it to “The Eye”? Gather resources, trade with other tribes, and move before the tsunami ends your life.