The Longing (Switch) Review
The art style is rather interesting
Truly unique gameplay design
You can read a full copy of Moby Dick
Slow pace might not be for everyone
The Longing takes 400 days to play. There are several ways to speed this up, but to play the game as intended it requires the user to only occasionally play the title and make changes to the environment. In that way it is similar to Animal Crossing, with a time limit; also there are no social elements in the game at all.
The concept of The Longing is that the player is asked to watch over a king while he goes into a deep sleep for the aforementioned amount of time. The command is put forward to not leave the caverns that the monarch resides over, but aside from that how the time is spent is up to the player. What is explored, and what improved, and decrees followed, or not, are up to the player. The only thing that is certain is that whatever the choice(s) they are going to take a period of time to complete.
The main gimmick is based around real world time. An area will be encountered and the avatar will directly state something about how long it will take for water to fill up a hole, or a rock to fall from the ceiling to allow passage. There are small ways to speed up the time, but most accelerations are measured in the amount of minutes, not hours or days. The game simply wants to understand patience; this is driven home if there is an attempt to make the character run, as they state they have more than enough time to go anywhere.
Aside from the unique time-based mechanics, it is completely beautiful to look at, every screen looks hand drawn and purposeful. The art is truly what ties the entire experience together, as without it the entire experience would seem like a large experiment. The style seems to invoke a sense of wonder, and simply ask the player to wait a little longer with the avatar as it wanders around the caves, waiting for its true master to awaken.
The Longing is a hard game to score, as it delivers exactly what it says it is going to do–having you wait 400 days to complete it. Does it deliver exactly what it set out to do? Yes. Is that an adventure for everyone? No. The bottom line is that it is tied together in such a way that you want to keep going, just a little longer.
Also available on PC.