An interesting concept that excels graphically, but doesn’t quite work as a narrative piece of work due to the mundane story and indiscriminate music.
Genre: Walking Sim, Adventure,
Developer: Brainwash Gang,
Publisher: Raw Fury
Release date: 27 May,2021
The Longest Road on Earth is an anthropomorphic narrative based game with no text and no voice acting. Scenes are played out in conjunction with musical tracks being played in the background. The scenes can be interpreted differently as there is no solid narrative, just visuals and music.
There are four short stories to witness and twenty-four original songs, sung by the developer!
The stories depict events in everyday life, like working and recreational activities.
Gameplay is very minimal.
You control the character’s left and right movements around the screen whilst a musical track plays in the background.
There are instances when a white or black box appears on items, or occasionally a triangle. This means you can interact or inspect the object.
Inspecting the object just shows a closer up image of the item. You are unable to spin it around or zoom in and out.
Interacting with the object means you can manipulate it in a very basic way. For example, touching a piano key or pressing a button.
The triangle asks you to hold the action button (like holding a key down on a piano) which had me stumped for a while! This is never explained and caused me some confusion.
There is no inventory. These tasks are extremely basic and just add a bit of titillation to proceedings.
A few times, I was left wondering whether I had to do something to progress or just wait. There were various objects like lamps that wanted me to interact with them but then did nothing. You will be waiting a lot in this game without much going on and it can be disconcerting.
Interacting with objects can initiate memories of past events or switch to a different story or timeline.
The game is very linear. You must follow the path designed for you without any deviation.
The game takes around two hours to complete. There are no achievements or trading cards.
A controller or keyboard can be used.
The visuals are undoubtedly the highlight of the game.
There is very clever use of camera angles, and the way the characters move and behave are extremely realistic considering the graphics are very pixelated.
Sometimes, the graphics are so pixelated it is hard to define what is happening in the scene and other times you will be marveling at the animations.
There are some lovely cut scenes that fill in story plots, and nice touches here and there that will impress.
I really did like the aesthetics of the game.
The sound is a bit of a bone of contention for me.
First of all, it sounds great. Apparently, the singer is one of the developers. I would say she is in the wrong business as she has a lovely voice that reminded me of a mixture of Julie Cruise and Billy Eilish.
The soundtrack is incredibly relaxing.
The problem I have with it is that it sounds very similar throughout. There are slight variations in pace and use of instruments, but even though it sounds nice, it becomes a bit repetitive.
Also, the songs don’t feel like they are specifically designed for the scenes. It just sounds like some incidental music playing in the background like you were listening to Spotify whilst playing a silent game. You could play whatever music you wanted whilst playing and I think it would have the same effect.
I was expecting some dramatic music to fit scenes of excitement, and melancholy music to accompany sad events, but there wasn’t much variation. Songs often abruptly ended and started again whilst still on the same scene which broke immersion.
The Longest Road on Earth is graphically impressive and has a nice ambience about it, but the gameplay is painfully slow and the stories are quite bland.
The four stories that we witness aren’t really interesting tales, but more of a peak into their mundane lives at work. Often, we will spend minutes sitting on a train or a bus, or walking along a street with nothing else happening. At first, I thought I must be able to move on the train, as I felt like I was sitting down forever. I could view passengers across from me but that was the extent of my interaction on the journey until I arrived at my destination.
I don’t mind interpreting stories but at least make them a bit exciting. Even slice of life games I enjoy but who wants to watch someone sitting on a train for three minutes or taking five minutes to walk down a street? There are the occasional things you can examine, or if you’re lucky interact with, and there are the occasional interesting things to look at, like a woman smoking at her window, but it becomes tedious, walking everywhere and sitting down for long stretches.
The character’s walking speed is very slow, so this compounded the feeling of frustration trying to get to your destination, and when you get there, the character just performs mundane tasks like making a coffee or smoking a cigarette. Nothing much happens at all.
The pace in the majority of the stories is extremely slow, with long drawn-out scenes and slow movement, yet the last tale was full of life, with short, interesting scenes and clever animations. I just wish they had used this model throughout the game. I understand life can be boring and sometimes this can be made interesting with the right tools but it didn’t work in this title.
The music had to play a pivotal role in creating emotion to make this project work and I believe sadly it has failed. I did not feel any emotion in the game or for the characters and it just felt a bit boring. The music did not change much throughout, and even though it was performed well, it did not fit into the scenes effectively. It just felt like I had the radio on in the background.
The Longest Road is an ambitious project with a lot of plus points, especially the art work, nice animations and the chilled ambience. It is a very relaxing game.
The music is performed well, with excellent vocals, but there is not enough variety in the music due to the same vocalist performing throughout the game.
I would have much rather heard a mixture of songs tailored for the scenes, creating emotion in proceedings and making things a bit more interesting.
The pace of the game is incredibly slow and the stories did not interest me enough to recommend this title.
I still think it might appeal to somebody who likes the music and just wants a chilled game to play for a couple of hours. I wanted a bit more drama and emotion.