As Far As The Eye review for Nintendo Switch, PC

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PC
Publisher: Goblinz Studio
Developer: Unexpected Studio
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

If As Far As The Eye wasn’t a port of a PC game from 2020, I would have been certain that its name was chosen ironically. While it has plenty of other bad features, arguably its worst is that the text on the screen is incredibly tiny. Even playing the game exclusively in handheld mode, I had to get the screen pretty close to my face just to read what the game was telling me half the time.

What makes this especially unbearable is that you have to do a lot of reading here. As Far As The Eye’s campaign mode essentially consists of five tutorial levels, each of them featuring walls of tiny text. Given that the game is impenetrable even in the best of circumstances – more on that in a moment – you’d think the developers would want to make that tiny concession of making it easy to read the lengthy info-dumps that accompany your every move. However, that’s simply not the case: they want you to read, and they want you to strain your eyes as much as possible while you’re doing it.

Unfortunately, the text is more “helpful” than helpful. The game makes constant references to its own lore and just expects you to know what they mean. It tells you about halts and pupils and vagaries, except it’s never totally clear what those are, so you’re left clicking around, hoping you’ll eventually stumble across what the game is telling you to do.

You have to be careful not to click too much, though, because failure seems to be baked into the game. As near as I could tell, every level gives you thirty turns to fulfill its goals, before the map will be flooded and you’ll lose all your progress. During those thirty turns you’ll have to deal with events that, again, are never fully explained, which generally makes As Far As The Eye feel like every map is built around luck, and it doesn’t matter if you’re any good at the game – to the extent you can even be good at the game, since, again, nothing is ever explained.

That said, you’ll nonetheless have to do lots of clicking around, since you can never tell when As Far As The Eye will register what you’re doing. While it didn’t crash on me too frequently – which seems to be a problem that many other people have had with the game – it still felt like a crapshoot whether following the directions would actually do what the game told me would happen. Theoretically, that could have been overcome if the game used the Switch’s touchscreen controls, but instead, you’re stuck with fiddly, unresponsive thumbsticks and buttons.

As Far As The Eye’s one saving grace is that it’s kind of pleasant to look at, provided there’s no text on the screen. Given that there’s lots of text on the screen, however, along with lots of incomprehensible gameplay and unresponsive controls, it doesn’t matter how nice As Far As The Eye’s visuals are when everything else about it is so awful.

Goblinz Studio provided us with an As Far As The Eye Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: D+