After an initial wait, here it is finally The Long Reach, horror / thriller with a pinch of puzzle, the fruit of Painted Black Games and distributor Merge Games, which we will also remember for The Count Lucanor.
Probably some will have recognized it because of the old Steam Greenlight, where it first appeared as a project, with its website. Let's go straight to the details!
Our adventure begins in a rather bizarre way, we will find ourselves catapulted from a normal shop to a mysterious structure without any information about it.
In a story of this kind, the logical and rational mechanisms that guide our thinking cease to operate, as can be seen from the first moments of the game. The Long Reach in fact, originates from a particular program that allows the sharing of experiences, but, following a malfunction ...
… Dreams and nightmares can mix with reality, without the need for sleep! All these hallucinations are fruit of the subconscious and eventually lead to the insanity of the people themselves.
The game's setting is not an apocalyptic world or some dimension distant from our daily reality, but on the contrary it is set in New Hampshire, in a fictional city named Baervox.
The very important factor of gods is placed in the intertwining of the narrative dialogues, in fact, we will have a wide choice in the range of answers available. From time to time, we will be able to respond in "our way", to give a different tone to the conversation, even if, more often than not, these choices are irrelevant to the plot.
We will not be faced with the usual linear and organic story, it is necessary to follow the deviated logic that is offered to us.
At first glance The Long Reach has nothing apparently particular or innovative, the commands are quite simple. Running, interacting with objects and inventory and using our portable flashlight are our only actions available in fact.
Instead, an already distinctive feature is the greater interaction with the external environment, there will not be the usual puzzles, but a creative use of what surrounds us. Don't even think about hastily scanning an area, you may lose a lot of necessary items!
The most rewarded ability to think outside the boxrather than the conventional logic we are used to.
Being the plot based on the dream world, there is certainly no shortage of nightmare monsters! Indeed, it is more appropriate to talk about human-zombies, against whom we will not be able to fight, if you care about your skin we advise you to stay away from them!
Particular attention is paid to the latter, represented in all their madness and desperation, there is no shortage of references to their background and their life.
The gameplay side is therefore more attentive to the environmental and interactive relationship, while the fights are absent. However, the inability to defend oneself lends more sense to the horror / thriller style.
Some information on aesthetics
The feature pixel art also appears in this title, often deformed and reused to create evocative and provocative scenarios at the same time. The altered perception accompanying our adventure is expressed by the shocking scenes we will witness, certainly not things we experience every day.
Numerous and intelligent instruments scattered throughout the game, some of them well camouflaged in the background making it difficult to locate them. Nonetheless, the tint provided by the background blends well with the objects, creating a sense of continuity and sometimes of strong contrast, even on a logical level.
The settings are varied and never favor darkness over light, which is why there is an alternation between the two luministic dimensions. There can be no dark scenario without a wise use of its opposite, light.
Honestly The Long Reach amazes in terms of sound, the music is quite suitable for the graphic style, making the dreamlike and ephemeral atmosphere real. Gloomy and often deep, it never ceases to tire the player with its variety.
We strongly recommend the use of headphones to savor the nuances, especially the bass.
Conclusion on The Long Reach
A must-have title for fans of indie horror / thrillers or 2D puzzle parts. Some sci-fi parts are inspired by The Matrix, but there are references to titles such as Lone Survivor, The Cave, Resident Evil, True Detective, Fargo and The Last Door.
The replay value can be disappointing, the game does not take many hours to finish and there is no extra mode. However, some may restart it to get a clearer view of the plot or settings.
The asking price is not excessive, although I would recommend the purchase mainly to fans of the genre in question.