Before Your Eyes Review: Life on the Eyelashes

A serene beach scene in Before Your Eyes

People blink unconsciously – usually we don’t think about how we do it, right? But our eyelids actually move 20 to 30 times per minute. The creators Avant tes yeux We decided to use this simple function of the human body as a method of control in the game. Blink – opens a new scene, activates a dialogue, makes a decision, changes the location… For full immersion, you will need a webcam – even the simplest one. I used the laptop’s camera, luckily the game is not resource-intensive and will run even on a calculator.

The game starts – quite suddenly – after the death of the main character. His soul is fished out of the boundless shimmering ocean by a certain Ferryman, resembling a quite battered coyote and traveling on a wind-up boat. The soul is practically immaterial and is represented by a glowing ball with eyes – indeed, it can only blink thoughtfully! The Ferryman offers you a deal: tell the story of your life (without words, just diving back into the depths of memory with his help). If the story is good enough – you will impress the Gatekeeper, waiting in a huge black tower, and proceed further into the magical city of the afterlife. But if the story is bad, or if you lie – the hero will spend the rest of eternity as a seagull, one of the many perpetually squawking clumps of feathers under the gloomy sky above the endless ocean of souls.

A ferry in the game world

The idea of “your whole life flashing before your eyes in a matter of minutes” has probably stuck with many people. But here it is beautifully implemented. If a ticking metronome appears on the screen, then, blinking, we move forward along the axis of time (sometimes you really want to linger a little longer – and, oh, it’s so difficult not to blink accidentally, even tears come to your eyes!). The story begins with the childhood of our hero, whose name is Benjamin Brinn. Of course, his memory is not perfect – fragments, pieces, random flashes of colors and voices, just like all of us; no one, except perhaps a few rare geniuses, remembers their life as a smooth constant flow. We jump from moment to moment, reconstruct key events, make choices.

The controls are the same blinking, plus the mouse, which we use to move the “point of view”; sometimes you have to close your eyes to listen to the dialogue. The voice acting, by the way, is simply stunning! It should be mentioned that if someone’s eyes start tearing up quickly (or if they simply don’t have a webcam – although you can even use the front camera of a smartphone), you can do without the eye-tracker option and use a regular mouse cursor, simply clicking in the places where you need to blink. However, this does diminish some of the magic of the game. But your eyes really get less tired.

A cat character in Before Your Eyes

The beginning, the first seconds – Ben is still a baby, crawling on the beach with his mother. Blinking – he is celebrating his first birthday. Blinking – he is painting with his fingers, blinking – his father is showing him a photo album, blinking… Life, so colorful, curious, diverse, unpredictable. And sad.

Because, of course, all souls lie in their stories-memories for the first time. The temptation is too great, it is too easy to embellish and get carried away. Too many ruffled yellow-billed gulls have perched on the roof of the Ferryman’s cabin. And it is too difficult to tell the truth – heavy, bitter, and not so beautiful.

The story itself, I won’t lie, didn’t seem very original to me even after the plot twist (perhaps because I have seen many similar ones and knew what to expect), but it is beautiful and sad – and ultimately comes to a logical conclusion.

A screenshot from Before Your Eyes

The idea of “eye-tracking” for gaming is much more interesting. If developed, it could be a breakthrough in terms of assisting people with disabilities or those temporarily unable to move or control a mouse or keyboard. Unfortunately, in Before Your Eyes, a mouse is still necessary, but if the camera learns to track not only blinking but also eye movement adequately, it would be possible to control the game without the involvement of hands. Of course, in games that require quick reactions, such a thing would not help (although… many of us have seen talented people playing Dark Souls with their feet, nose, potato, and even teeth), but many quests, visual novels, and walking simulators do not require perfect reflexes – there, such control could be a lifesaver. A couple of years ago, when I injured my shoulder joint, for some time I could only play games like visual novels, managing solely with one hand – the left one, and let me tell you, it’s not easy when even the mouse is designed for the familiar right hand! It’s high time to adapt alternative control methods, long overdue.

Drawing or creative activity in the game

Overall, I recommend trying Before Your Eyes – both as an interesting experiment with webcam control and as a short story about fleeting time, dreams, struggle, despair, and ultimately self-acceptance. It is a touching and cohesive parable. Before Your Eyes was released on April 8, 2021 on Steam.

Before Your Eyes
Visual Novel
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



More Reviews