I’ve Fallen & I Can’t Get Up
Unseen Interactive has hopped into the audio gaming world with the release of Lost In Blindness, A story based audio game voiced by a cast of characters. The game mainly focuses on the journey of the main character Alex as he explores a Maya temple in the Amazon. Though it is story based there are some action sequences where you do have either half or full control of your character and their movement. It isn’t a cheap game however coming in at $24.99 on Steam, so is it worth picking up and playing? Hopefully this review will help you answer the question for yourself. I’ve played it from front to back twice, and have plenty of thoughts to share with everyone.
- Developer: Unseen Interactive
- Developer’s website: unseeninteractive.com
- Where to buy: Steam for $24.99
- Where else to buy: itch.io $24.99
- Platform: Windows, Mac, Linux
- Demo: yes
- audiogames.net forum thread
From The Developer
Lost in Blindness is more than just a game, it is a whole new gaming experience!
Play as Alex, a young blind archeologist and follow the tracks left behind by the disappearance of the Mayan civilization! In this blind adventure game, discover an incredible 3D environment only by listening to the sounds around you, without using your eyes to see.
Explore a temple in the middle of the Amazonia and solve the puzzles that it hides. Thanks to a choice-based dialogue system, make your own decisions that will change the course of your story, to make it even more shocking!
And since adventure game should have it’s share of action and infiltration, watch your back… Because it seems that creatures and people don’t want you discovering the secrets protected by this temple!
But don’t worry, your friends are here to help you on your journey… at least… you think so…
Fellow Videomakers, thanks to our “Streamer Mode”, you can also share your experience with your audience, letting them see your actions and progression live while you are blindfolded!
Lost in Blindness is the promise of a game like you’ve never seen before!
To be honest…I went into this purchase with my personal expectations quite low. Normally when something markets itself as being a completely new gaming experience it fills me with quite a bit of trepidation. Opening the game for the first time fed into this feeling. It is self voiced, and self voicing is always done wrong in audio games. To my surprise it is done quite well here. The cursor is quite responsive, and there isn’t any serious lag or delays when navigating in the game’s menus. This might actually be the first game where I didn’t hate everything about the self voiced menus. It actually wasn’t bad at all, and shows it can be done right if enough thought is put into it.
There is menu music, and the music can’t be turned down. Normally this is when I would get angry, but some witchcraft is at play here, and it doesn’t bother me. This was something I specifically talked with Hannibal about before we streamed the game on the 22nd. It is a good example of how to use music in a game. Soft, subtle and allow it to accent the game instead of forcing itself into the foreground. That being said I still would like controls to turn it off.
The rest of the options are quite simple. You can enable or disable streamer mode. This either shows or doesn’t show graphics to the people watching the stream. You can enable or disable full screen, and toggle keyboard or game pad controls as well. With the keyboard game pad toggle, keyboard controls will still work no matter what, but you’ll be told to press game pad buttons instead of keyboard buttons in the game.
So that’s enough writing, now you can enjoy what will be a permanent archive of Hannibal and myself streaming the game on May 22, 2021. Warning: our streams are not made for children, but either is this game. If you are easily offended by language or certain topics then this stream may not be for you.
Giving The Game a Play (Rated R)
Due to issues with the audio player playing and pausing when someone tries to write a comment, the BSG stream has been moved to a pop out player.
Click to open the audio player in a new window
A Playthrough By IllegallySighted
The Gameplay & Mechanics
Lost in blindness is primarily a story game with interactive parts which the game calls “action sequences” mixed in. There is not a lot of the action sequences, but that is to be expected in a story game.
The main focus is clearly on the voice acting and the sound design, and overall these two things are able to carry the game on their own. The voice acting of the two main characters Alex and Laura is good, and I’ve heard multiple people say it is one of the best examples of it you’ll find in an audio game. The sound design is on point as well, and it is used to add to the immersive experience, not to show off what the audio designer is capable of. This is a growing issue in audio games, the sound design is too aggressive and the game turns into a demo of what someone can do, and it always detracts from the game.
The game does support full game pad support, and in a true meaning of the phrase, not how most audio games do. Your left stick controls your movement, and your right stick controls your direction and camera angle. This is almost unheard of in the audio gaming world, and it is so nice to finally see main stream movement come to an audio game. You aren’t moving around on a piece of grid paper, instead you are moving within the world as you should be. This isn’t without flaws though, and I’ll talk about that later in the post.
I was told by multiple people I would hate this game, and I didn’t have high expectations going in, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised. There are quite a bit of concepts done right here, and overall I found the game enjoyable.
First off The elephant in the room…the big blind elephant named Trope. A lot of people are going to have issues with another game where the main character is blind, and where the word blind is in the title. This has never been something that bothers me though, and I honestly don’t understand the anger some express towards it. I’m yet to see someone who both gets mad about the blindness trope being used and also mad about other tropes being used…well in everything they consume. Everything is a trope in one way or another, and the only person I ever see talk about non blindness tropes in depth is mektastic the trope queen, everyone else seems to be only fixated on the one blindness trope. If you dislike overuse of all tropes then that’s fine, but if it is only one specific one being used then it seems odd to me. Either way it isn’t an issue for me, he can be blind or not, the way I review a game is based on the experience and content, not the title or if the character has working eyes.
The voice acting here is way more than I expected from it. The vast majority of the game is well done with very few points where I had to step back because of inflection or emotion being improperly conveyed. The actor who voices Alex does well with most parts, only those where he is expressing sadness or regret seem out of place and forced. On the other hand Laura delivers over and over, and in my opinion she is the best acted character here. There are some points where she switches from one emotion into another too quickly, but that seems to be more of a script issue than the actor. These moments are minor though, and overall it is quite well done. The only ungood performance is from the bandit leader, but it is so out of place that it adds comic relief to the game. I don’t know if this is intentional, but either way he cracks me up.
Now to the holy grail of game movement. As mentioned above this game uses a full 360 degree rotation system on a real world like map. There are no coordinates, no tiles, just you moving around on a map like you would in any main stream game. This is something that needs to be praised and supported by everyone who believes audio games need to advance out of the year 2006. Match this up with the stellar use of sound design and you have a game that really has a unique feel, and one which I hope is used in more games in different genres.
Finally the last big point which I found to be both a positive and a negative…the story. The story is interesting, and it is guided by a plot which is quite easy to follow, but one which has some odd points. I’ll save these for the next section, but overall it is right in the middle of the road for me. Neither really a solid positive, or something that hurts the game in any serious way for me. There is a twist at the end, but not one which is impossible to see coming, and there are two completely different endings depending on the choice you make at the conclusion of the game. This is not the best example of breaking out of the illusion of choice paradigm, but it is doing it all the same and that should be praised.
Some smaller positives that I feel are worth mentioning.
The dialog has swearing. This might not be a big deal to some, but it makes the spoken lines feel more natural with how people actually speak, not censored stilted speech people like to pretend is real. Sidebar: I grew up in a family where my grandma called her car “the old c^nt”, so don’t tell me people don’t talk like that…you just don’t talk like that.
The sound design really is well done, but I’ve already gone into that above. From map ambience all the way to menu music it is a perfect example of how to use sound.
Nearly all my negatives are directly related to the positives gone over in the previous section.
The biggest issue I have with the game is the scaling of the movement system. The overall idea is great and one I think should be praised, but the scaling is off in my opinion. The movement is too slow, and the maps are too small. I think everything would feel more natural with larger maps, faster movement, and more step sounds. As it is the game has a learning curve which just involves getting use to the movement rate, and it is a frustrating experience to say the least. A wholesale expansion of everything to open it up more would do quite a bit to fix this in my opinion.
The sound design is great, and it isn’t in your face anywhere in the game. That being said there are points where more audio landmarks could be used as cues for helping with navigation. For example at the start when finding Laura in the park, she doesn’t make enough noise to find easily if you are still learning the scale and speed of game movement. This wasn’t only a Smoke issue, I exchanged DMs with another person who had the same problem at the same point as well. More audio signals specifically for getting from point A to point B would be nice, but only when it is 100% necessary. The Laura point is the only one where this is definitely necessary, not where it is intentionally difficult, like when you might die if you don’t succeed.
The “action sequences” start off, well they are boring. We’ve seen the move left right runner style game five thousand times by now, and it does get old. I wish they weren’t even there, but instead replaced with what we see later; a open world movement scene where we have to move around in 360 degrees and not die. I just feel this could have been done better, but it isn’t a big deal since there is indeed a mixture of both sequences.
The length of the game is quite short. I said on the stream it was long, but I blame it on the one sip of beer I had. The price of the game is quite steep for the playtime of two or three hours. I understand the price is because of the voice acting and the sound design, but it doesn’t fix the dollar to time ratio. That being said people loved blind drive and they are both about $10 per hour worth of playtime, so there might not be much to complain about at all.
I found the story interesting, but there is one issue it seems everyone has. How on earth does Alex brush his hand on a rock and get the most incredibly detailed information from a carving. It is a bit over the top and it really requires the suspension of belief. This is where the blind trope comes into play, and almost seems like a crutch in the story. Is it a deal breaker…no, but could it be done better…yes.
Some small negatives:
The left right sound demo is not skippable at the start. There is no reason to listen to that every time you open the game.
Progress is hard to measure because it does not Show the total number of chapters in the chapter selection screen. It only shows the ones you’ve unlocked. This means you have no idea how many you have to go.
The game pauses when you alt tab out of the window…this is horrible for streaming and a feature that does not need to be in the game. At least make it a toggle in the settings.
Conclusion & Review
Overall this is a solid title if you are into story based games. It isn’t a genre I’d seek out, but even with that I found it enjoyable to play. I have to force myself through some horrible games for reviews, but this was not one of them.
The solid sound design, superb game mechanics, and believable voice acting really add up to a positive experience. The price vs length of game ratio, odd movement scaling,and lack of needed audio cues take it down a bit, but overall it is a solid game.
Rating: 7.9 / 10
If you are wondering why 7.9…I feel it is somewhere between seven and eight, but seven felt too low and eight felt too high. It is a high seven but not quite an eight for me.
The giveaway has completed and the winner was @jackf723 on twitter!
If you like what we do here on BSG you can share the posts on Twitter or Facebook. Each share helps out a lot. Don’t forget to click the like or dislike link at the top of the page as well. You can also support BSG on Patreon, there are multiple tiers and each one helps out a whole bunch, even if you only sign up for $1 it makes a difference.
Support BSG on Patreon