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Review: The Longing – Tedious By Design, And Incredibly Successful At It

For a minute there, I lost myself.

There’s a section of the acclaimed Windows adventure game The Neverhood entitled “The Hall of Records”. It’s essentially a (very) long gag – screen after screen of rooms, full to the brim with quite bizarre text. It takes what feels like hours to make it through with main character Klaymen’s agonisingly slow walk speed, but you have to do it. Waiting at the end of this absolute meandering torture – which takes forever even if you completely ignore the lore hung on the walls – is a single collectable token, essential to completion. It’s a sick joke, and one with a double punchline; you’ve now got to walk back. No shortcuts.

You want to really laugh? The Longing is that same principle, applied to a full game. Everything takes forever to do. And it’s all by design, which makes it something of a tricky prospect to review. Do you reward the game for evoking an atmosphere that it very much intended to evoke? Do you criticise the game for said atmosphere being phenomenally dull even though it’s absolutely meant to make you feel that way? There’s really no way to win. Thankfully, as we all know, winning isn’t everything. So let’s get very cross with The Longing and call it names.

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