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Our examiner, Ellen Robertson, first checked Before Your Eyes 2 years ago. It was re-examined by Ben Kendall and updated 6 months ago.
Before Your Eyes begins on a desolate sea with a fox-like captain taking you to be judged. You're then instructed to 'remember' your life before you reached this place. When remembering, you blink to progress a memory by interacting with the objects you see, but soon a Metronome appears and your next blink will end the scene.
As you progress this use of blinking becomes second nature. The game leans into this and uses it in ever more intimate ways. If you blink by accident when the Metronome has appears dialogue is cut short and there's no way back. It creates a tangible tension of your inability to control time. Then there are moments where blinking makes a choice about how the story is told (although it's not branching). Or there are moments when you must keep your eyes open or close them to progress.
The result is a fascinating game that explores the unforgiving pace of life. The uncertainty of how much time you blink forward combines with your inability to hear everything you want to before moving on powerfully creates a sense of powerfullness and inevitability. This combines with the themes of illness, family expectations, performance anxiety and our legacy after death to tell a story that gets under your skin in ways a book or film is unable to do.
It's a game that deals with grief and death. There is a brief scene with pools of blood (cartoon style) but in relation to cats rather than human characters. There's a scene where wine is discussed and glasses are raised in a toast. The game includes the word 'hell'. There's the theme of cancer and of long term illness.
On the Apple App Store it's rated 12 + Infrequent/Mild Mature/Suggestive Themes, Mild Horror/Fear Themes, Infrequent/Mild Profanity or Crude Humor, Infrequent/Mild Realistic Violence, Infrequent/Mild Alcohol, Tobacco, or Drug Use or References.
8+ year-olds usually have the required skill to enjoy this game. Still, it's important for parents and guardians to consider the maturity required to process the game content. It's a slower narrative game that requires some maturity to understand the weight of the story. The interactions revolve around blinking your eyes in the real world so you need to be able to control that to some extent. Younger players are sometimes attracted to the unusual interaction here. Very young players could choose to play by tapping rather than blinking.
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