Games of the Year

XING: The Land Beyond

XING: The Land Beyond Screenshot 1
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XING: The Land Beyond is an atmospheric first-person puzzle adventure game set in the afterlife. In death, you will find yourself on a journey across a series of mysterious lands filled with the thoughts and personalities of those long lost. Follow forgotten stories, collect artifacts, solve puzzles, and discover secrets as you make your own adventure through the mysteries of The Land Beyond.
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Game Discussion

Review by Anonymous
Review from Steam

I played Xing in standard mode and it was stunningly beautiful. It did remind me of Myst but it can stand proudly in its own right. Others have mentioned Witness, but the puzzles are challenging but not obscure like the former was. It had echoes of RiMe which is a favourite of mine. Most people take 10-15 hours to complete so a lot of bang for your bucks.
You are dead and your soul has entered the spirit world. There is no religion or faith attached to this game, but it does touch very lightly on reincarnation. You arrive at a hub which has 4 massive doors to 4 vastly different worlds and there is a gate which enters into another area which is closed. This gate needs all the runes found in the 4 worlds.
The spirit guide in the hub says you have to enter the 4 worlds to collect the 4 souls lost there. Itzali Point is a beach setting where you learn the story of a female environmentalist. Nahele Rain is about a Shaman in a Sth American jungle setting. Hyaku Lake is in the mountains with a heavy Asian influence. You follow a girl and her dog here. Desert of Naar is self-explanatory and tells the story of a ruler.
Once you collect all the runes you can open the gate to the forest of Zeneth. This forest contains multiple doors to various worlds. Each door is a short vignette about a person. The final area is the Steps of Akash which has more puzzles and takes you to the ending. You don't have to complete the steps to 100% the game.
Game play entails finding scrolls in each world which tells the story in poetry about the person. You also collect red balls which are the hints, but they can be quite obscure. You need to find the golden rune in each puzzle level. They are usually difficult to get to. You have the power to manipulate the elements of fire, rain, snow, water, and wind. You are also able to change night to day and vice versa.
Puzzles entail manipulating the platforms or creating a walkway to cross over something. You can use gongs to weaken ice or drums to bounce fruit or glowing balls to where you want. There are quite a few sokoban areas which can be challenging. Some of them fried my brain so much that I had to take a break for a few days!! There is some platforming and a bit of running around to solve the puzzles. I found them medium to hard to complete. I mucked up the final one on Steps of Akash, so I threw in the towel and watched the end online.
Ah...the graphics! This was the highlight of the game. The environments were absolutely stunning and with the backing of a full orchestra, it created an amazing experience. This game allows you the explore and enjoy the surroundings with its natural sounds of waterfalls etc. Hyaku Lake was my favourite area with lakes, mountains and the ominous Asian lions and blossom trees. The story on this level gave it an additional emotional impact.
This is a peaceful game as there is no hidden threats or combat. After all, you ARE already dead!! There is no stress or urgency in the game, apart from the frying of your brain cells. There are no timed puzzles also, so this game is ideal for those who are slower with their reflexes. Some of the mechanics of moving the sokoban pillars were very innovative. I did struggle with the wind fan lifting me up to a ledge. I went everywhere else but to the ledge!! Grr.
If I had a quibble, I would say that it is a touch too long. By the time I was finishing Steps of Akash, I had a severe case of puzzle fatigue despite the variety on that level.
Highly recommend for puzzles lovers and those who love beautiful surroundings. 9/10

Review from Steam

A great VR puzzle and platformer game that is also fun in non-VR mode and looks amazing.
I started exploring an island with some relaxing music in the background. Switching between day and night and carrying fire was an inportant part of the puzzles.
Have played in VR too a couple of years ago. It's so rare that a game works both with and without VR.
Highly recommended in both modes.

Review from Steam

Hidden gem of VR.
If you like well done puzzles in an atmospheric world full of subtle storytelling- you will love this game.
If you have a VR headset this is a must play experience.

Review from Steam

It's a puzzle game, okay!? Everything else is secondary. It is a great puzzle game, though, amazing even: It's in full 3D and with a good variety of things to figure out and places to explore. Exploration wasn’t a main theme, but there were some rewards to be found here and there. I had a great few hours of good fun.
The game also offers a large variety of fruit—and coconuts, which count as fruit. I set the coconuts on fire and watched them burn. I fed big fish with fruit-shaped hand-grenades—or hand-grenade-shaped fruits. I bounced other kinds of fruit on drums in a sometimes obscure order.
The main character is a collector of dead souls and, apparently, when we die, we all speak in rhymed verse with odd metrics. As the grim reaper you have many perfectly expected talents like pushing boxes, controlling the time of day, and making it rain (not snow, never snow, nor hail). It’s great.
I have no idea why I am doing all these shenanigans, but I'm having fun and that's all I'm asking for. There’s also a lot of extra content. When you are not solving puzzles, you can just walk around for a bit and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
The stories being told by the souls you collect are of an intra.personal nature.
I ended up muting the music and listening only to the natural sounds (rain, wind, birds etc), which was nice and relaxing.
Full review:

Review from Steam

I loved the stories it told. Most puzzles were engaging and some latter ones I was beginning to give up (because of puzzle fatigue) and looked at online tutorials. It is still good and a great VR experience.

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