Developed by Ukrainian studio Painted Black Games and published by Merge Games, The Long Reach is an adventure game with a good amount of gore and scary elements in which you play as Stewart, a scientist working on a research facility who participated in an experiment to develop abilities that went really bad. So bad that he and his coworkers find themselves on the brink of reality, fighting for their survival or succumbing to their fears. Now it’s up to you: find an exit from this living nightmare before Stewart goes nuts and discover what went wrong with this experiment. But first let’s take a look at what the game offers in our review.
- The Long Reach has some of the most beautiful pixel art graphics of this generation. Seriously! When you see a game with pixel graphics, usually you have tiny elements and very few details on the screen. Here you have exactly the opposite: all characters and elements are big and very well detailed. You can clearly identify objects over tables, food over shelves and so. A great achievement for the developers!
- The creepy atmosphere of the game is awesome. It combines great music with the use (or absence) of light in a way that impresses. Add to it the gory elements of the scenario that help building an exciting experience. The game succeeds in sucking us in, making us unable to distinguish the reality from the protagonist imagination during most of the gameplay.
- I don’t want to give any spoilers about the game, but I want to mention one detail that caught my attention: the way the game talks about the use of drugs, a very controversial topic on its own. It’s a short part of the story, but it has been addressed in a very smart way, without the stereotypes or labels the frequently come with it. It was brave of them to talk about it like they did.
- The gameplay in The Long Reach follows the old model of adventure games of collecting items and using them in specific places. Some will be straight and objective while others will require a lot of trial and error until you discover what to do with them. There are moments you will be absolutely lost about what to do next whereas in others the game takes you by the hand, almost telling you exactly what to do (‘get this item and use in that door’). In a game that is basically puzzle solving and hiding, I missed some more challenge during puzzle solving.
- There’re a good number of NPCs in the game, but I had some tough time to memorize who is who and, with it, comprehending the story in my head. As some of them will only appear for short periods, you will hardly get attached to any of them.
- Your dialogs with NPCs have many options, some kind and gentle and others really rude. It’s totally up to you how to conduct your conversations, but unfortunately, they make no difference in the outcome of the experience (with few exceptions). It would be great if your dialogs influenced how the NPCs would react to you, giving some more meaning to your relationship with them.
- For an adventure game, I found The Long Reach short and with no appeal for a second run (except for the achievements I missed during my first gameplay). If you don’t get stuck how I did sometimes, you will finish it in about three hours.
[Score: 75/100] The Long Reach is a great adventure game, with beautiful pixel graphics and good music, building a remarkable atmosphere. Its story seems a little confusing at the beginning, but as soon as you start connecting the dots, you will be eager to uncover what happened to Stewart and his coworkers. The game feels a little short for an adventure game, but it won’t disappoint fans of the genre.
With a history of gaming that goes from his old man’s Atari 2600 to his Xbox One, Rafael or RAF687, our Brazilian editor, has a love for games as old as he can remember. He has already spent countless hours in many consoles (Mega Drive/Genesis, Sega Saturn, PS1, PS2 and Xbox 360) and is always ready for more (as long as his wife is asleep). Raf has been writing for LifeisXbox since 2017, with a passion for games of almost all genres – though we know he has a special place in his heart for RPGs, racing games and anything that includes pixel art. Writing about games has always been a childhood dream to Raf, dream that he has fulfilled reviewing games for you here. You can drop him a message at Twitter, Facebook or Xbox Live at any time.