A new entry into the asymmetrical horror genre, Beyond Senses brings some interesting concepts to the table but will ultimately need a long ride in Early Access if it’s going to turn any heads.
Type: Single-player, Co-op, PvP
Genre: Action, Horror
Developer: Sky Haubrich
Publisher: Pyxton Studios
Release date: 13 December, 2019
Asymmetrical horror is one of the more influential fas in multiplayer gaming currently. Some of them are worthy experiences like Dead by Daylight and Friday the 13th, while many others are underdeveloped shovelware that is not worth the price of admission. Beyond Senses currently falls into the latter camp, though it has some interesting concepts and has only recently arrived in Early Access. At the moment, its potential is untapped, though it’s certainly not doomed to failure at this stage of the game.
Nightmare Fuel or Nightmare To Play?
Beyond Senses immediately distinguishes itself from its peers by having multiple modes to play in, with several more planned for the future. Hunt seems to be its primary mode, and it involves a handful of hunters charging crystals to weaken the monster while it tries to catch and murder all involved. Crystals slowly lose energy, but as long as the hunters are able to keep them from emptying, they will significantly weaken the monster once the timer has run out, and then the shoe’s on the other foot and it’s slaying time.
The egoist mode pits hunters against one another to activate crystals in their colour. Once the timer has run out, the player with the least crystals claimed will be hunted by the monsters (usually more than one). It’s important to note that you can taze other hunters here so that’s a hilarious plus.
Banishment is the last of the modes that are currently available and it requires hunters to seek out cursed items that are hidden around the map. These items must be placed on the corresponding symbols to banish the monster upon luring it to their location.
Each of these modes has plenty of customization options to tailor the experience to your liking. Being able to change the charging capacity of crystals or the number of active monsters certainly lends itself to keeping things new and exciting when the mood strikes.
Hunters and Prey
Hunters are the ‘survivors’ of Beyond Senses, though they’re certainly not defenseless. There are four of them to choose from and each can have their appearance, weapons, skills, and item loadouts customized. Appearance customization is lacking currently and contains only a few options that aren’t particularly distinct from one another. Weapons, skills, and items contain a bit more, with new unlocks showing up as you progress through the leveling system, but are likewise much lighter in content than I would prefer.
Monsters are in short supply and only two are available to be played, Valac and Dr. Walker. Valac is a demon with a fetish for dressing up as a priest who can turn invisible and ambush his foes from a distance as well as block their bullets with his telekinesis. Alternatively, Dr. Walker is a poor bastard who made a terrible choice who can all but teleport where he wants to go and efficiently sniff out hunters wherever they may be. Monsters lack any customization outside of their skins and, although I assume that there’s plenty involving that coming in the future, there’s little you can do to mix them up for now.
The three available maps offer different experiences, which is a great start, but they’re quite small and need more variety within them. The atmosphere that they provide is a solid foundation for a growing concept, though its current implementation is unexciting and looks cheap. I do enjoy how you can already see that some are enclosed with corridors and tight spaces (haunted house) while others are quite open (cemetery), and I could see them being used to great effect in the future. I found that the haunted house could use some improvement even more than the others as the monster can quite easily block a hunter in with no space for them to escape, even if they can stun the monster with an item like holy water.
Beyond Senses is in Early Access and suffers from the flaws that you would expect in such a state. The visuals could be improved, the AI seems to be braindead, and the player base is so small that it’s pretty much impossible to find others to play with unless you bring them yourself. Content is barebones, though the mechanical skeleton underneath seems to be functioning, even if it’s in very rough shape.
Realistically, it’s barely something that I would consider a game at this point. Having only just arrived in Early Access, I give it a bit of slack in the rating department, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone but the most diehard asymmetrical horror fan who is looking for a new experience and wants to support the development of a title that might be worth it in the distant future. If you’re expecting a full experience or an active player base, I wouldn’t spend your money on this title, at least not yet.