The Long Reach is a horror-thriller game with one main purpose, messing with your head. How well does it do this? Let’s find out in this The Long Reach review!
Reviewed on Xbox One; Also available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo Switch, PC, and Mac.
The story begins with ‘lazy slob’ Calvin going to the grocery store as his, not so happy, wife, Shelly (this name is of importance to you in the game), leaves him a note to say his attitude needs to change and needs to start doing things for himself. Probably the most ‘normal’ situation you will see throughout The Long Reach. Without spoiling the story, things go from bad to worse in the grocery store and is one of the creepiest openings to a game I’ve ever played!
The story then jumps over to what looks like some sort of Scientist Lab where you then take the role of the character you will become acquainted with throughout the rest of The Long Reach, Stewart. Stewart seems to be involved in some sort of experiment, of which you have no idea of just yet. But you will. When things go horribly wrong again, Stewart must figure out what the hell is going on and fast or he may pay the ultimate price, death.
One thing to point out is, all story in the game is told through various narratives throughout. Whether that be through emails, notes, or speaking to numerous crazy people. When speaking to people you have a few options you can choose from which I found quite interesting. I’m not sure whether choosing different lines results in different outcomes, I doubt it.
The Long Reach is a side-scrolling horror-thriller filled with mystery, puzzles and, you guessed it, horror. Well, it’s more thriller than horror I guess. There are very few enemies for you to face and there is no combat whatsoever. If you come across one of the very few enemies in the game your only option is to hide until it goes away. Though, you can progress through the entire game without seeing more than one enemy. It’s more the atmosphere that is spine-chilling. Walking into a room with blood everywhere or a body hanging from the ceiling definitely leaves you feeling creeped out. I didn’t even care for what had happened, I just wanted out of there. Is that bad? And even throughout all this horror and bloodshed, the game still manages to throw some humour into the equation.
The gameplay can get a little repetitive as you run back and forth from various rooms and floors to figure what items you need to collect and use elsewhere to progress. Sometimes figuring out these puzzles was really simple, other times not so much. Some important items can easily be missed if you don’t investigate every little thing you can interact with, which often means wandering around the creepy corridors for lengthy periods of time. The lesson here, look at everything! You may even find out something to do with the story that you may have missed. That’s an important point, the game doesn’t force you to figure out the whole story, the whole truth. That you will have to figure out on your own.
I will say that this is a short game, yes it can be made longer by running backward and forward and getting lost, but this will last you 3 hours maybe, max. But for you achievement/trophy hunters, you can 100% this game in one playthrough without really needing to look at a guide.
Graphics & Sound
The Long Reach uses Pixel Art to portray the gory scenes you will see throughout your adventure. I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of detail that had gone into every nook and cranny. The shadows, the creases on your shirt, the blood trails along the floor, nothing is missing nor out of place. A lot of the areas are dark and dingy (obviously) but when you enter an area with some lighting its so pleasing to the eyes. The colours are all vibrant well, perfect.
The soundtrack suits the game completely, it’s spooky and eerie and makes you constantly feel on edge. You know how in a lot of games the music changes when something is about to happen? Usually something bad? Well imagine that but all the time. It’s so perfect. Have a listen and tell me that doesn’t set the scene for The Long Reach perfectly.
The Long Reach‘s gameplay is solid and raises your anxiety and suspense through great story-telling. It very clearly takes inspiration from games such as The Cave and Lone Survivor. It takes all the great aspects from the classic adventure games and puts its own unique spin onto it. It’s a short game that, for puzzle veterans, can easily be completed in a couple of hours. But it will be the most intense two hours of your gaming life. It’s a great game with an amazing narrative that will leave you so very confused but must be experienced by as many people as possible.