The Longing

ยท 1436 words ยท 7 minute read
  • Genres: Exploration, Puzzle, Slow-Burn
  • Platform: PC
  • Start: 08/20/2022
  • End: 09/20/2022
  • Rating: 9/10

The shade mining a crystal

The shade mining a crystal

Introduction ๐Ÿ”—

patient - หˆpฤ-shษ™nt - adjective 1: bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint

Waiting is something that I have struggled with my entire life. If I have something at 2pm somehow I cannot do anything else before then. I sit around in this restless “waiting mode” seemingly incapable of planning another activity. I always try to do things I need to do (or can do) later-on right this second.

I have a habit of trying to develop some form of progress right now in all of my projects. I tend to drive and drive until I get burnout, and push through the burnout to a product of some kind. Sure, things get completed, but the major downside is that I do not want to go back and polish my work - I submit a final draft and “set it and forget it”.

Doing things takes time. Living life takes time. Building a bed takes a few hours. Growing mushrooms takes a few days at the least.

The Longing ๐Ÿ”—

Plot ๐Ÿ”—

The Longing is a game with a simple goal: the king need to cast a powerful spell to help eliminate all longing from the world. In order to save up the energy they needs to sleep they tasks you, a shade, with waking up the king in 400 days – 400 real days. The game continues to count down the time even as the game is closed – it is a sort of idle game, just much more interactive.

A display of all of the immediately visible rooms in the kingdom, with countdown timer displayed

A display of all of the immediately visible rooms in the kingdom, with countdown timer displayed

The player is given no real guidance other than to wait for 400 days. There is a timer at the top of the screen that continuously reminds the player of the time. Rather fittingly the “bedroom” of the shade is incredibly dull so the player is incentivized to explore immediately. The first thing noticed is just how slow the shade walks.

The first barrier you face is a door to the upper levels of the kingdom – two hours to open. However once the door does open you are given full access to the Kingdom under rule of your liege.

The Kingdom is divided into multiple main areas:

  • Western Caves
  • Main Halls
  • Eastern Mines
  • Library
  • Other stretches of caves connected to these areas

Outside of the Kingdom we find these areas:

  • Mushroom Caves
  • The Darkness
  • ???

The player is not given a map. When the shade chooses to investigate the map on the wall in one of the main hall rooms the camera will slowly pan out to reveal the area you are in.

Mechanics ๐Ÿ”—

Waiting is not so bad once you learn to keep yourself occupied. –A shade

Time ๐Ÿ”—

Time Manipulation ๐Ÿ”—

Time does not need to pass this slowly. One of the main mechanics of the game is finding ways to have time past faster. The primary means of accomplishing this is to decorate your “bedroom”. The more decorated it is, the faster time passes while the shade is in the room (including during “idle” time when the game is closed).

A very comfortable looking cave

A very comfortable looking cave

The shade can find ways to make time pass even faster for short periods of time, as well as reverse time should you miss something date specific.

Books ๐Ÿ”—

The most conspicuous item in the “bedroom” of the shade is the large bookshelf. When you start the game you only have a few books presents, including your personal notebook and Moby Dick.

Reading books has two main impacts on the game:

  1. Some books, when finished, reveal secrets or hints to the player as the shade appends their thoughts to the end of a book.
  2. The first time the shade “reads” a page of a book the clock goes ahead one minute. This is useful if you want time to pass faster during a certain window: just give the shade a book, select “idle reading” and close the game.
Paintings ๐Ÿ”—

The shade loves pictures, but especially….lice pictures.

As you explore the Kingdom you will come across 5 colors of minerals you can use for painting: white, black, blue, yellow, red. You can select which combination of colors you wish to use for a particular painting. Each color combination has certain paintings associated with it to choose from.

The more paintings on your wall the faster time progresses while the shade is in their bedroom.

Items and Furniture ๐Ÿ”—

There are several items for you to find in the game that can also speed up time. The more decorations you have, the better. There is also a musical instrument you can play. Can you figure out the tune in the shade’s head and play it successfully?

One of the most involved items you can get in the game is the bed for the shade. It takes 10 wood and 20 moss to build, and collecting that will take quite some time. However, once built, the bed allows the shade to dream which reveals useful information relating to the plot of the game and the goals of the shade.

Fire ๐Ÿ”—

The shade can use coal to light a fire. When a fire is lit time progresses even faster – it acts as a multiplier.

There are multiple types of fires that serve different functions. You should try making them all to see what happens!

Waiting ๐Ÿ”—

A lot of actions, passageways, items, are triggered or obtainable based on time. Waiting for moss to grow, waiting for stalactite to fall, a puddle to fill. Everything in this game takes time and patience. However when paired with your ability to manipulate time in an “idle” state you should be able to progress faster and faster with each “overnight”.

Mattocks ๐Ÿ”—

Mattocks are extremely useful. They allow you to expand tunnels in specific areas as well as mine things from the cave walls.

Collecting the crystals with the mattock and using them to decorate your bedroom causes time to move forward faster while in your bedroom. Not all crystals are mined, though! Can you find them?

Found Items ๐Ÿ”—

There are several types of collectible items you can find in the Kingdom. Moss, boards, coal, sulfur, etc. All of these collectibles have some feature in the plot of the game.

One fun item to collect are Disappointments. These are when you fail at a task for the first time. Cannot jump high enough to grab a ledge? Thats disappointing.

Halls Of Eternity ๐Ÿ”—

In the Western Caves there is a hallway that goes on forever. For every step the shade takes into the hallway, they have to take that step back to get out - it really does go on forever.

The purpose of the Halls of Eternity is for the player to find some specific items, as well as supply a source of books and paper should the player run out or be unable to procure more in the Kingdom proper.

Hidden Places ๐Ÿ”—

There are a lot of hidden places and items in this game. Some take time, some are findable during specific times, and some are just very well hidden. If you feel like you have searched everywhere in the game, maybe try lighting a specific kind of fire and see what happens.

Takeaways ๐Ÿ”—

The Longing teaches us a lot. It teaches us about patience and it teaches us about ourselves.

There came I time when I found myself digging for minerals with the mattock and the shade mentioned how slow they were going. The first thought that I had was along the lines of “it is not going to take you that long” – I think means the game is working and slowing me down. Not being able to play the game every day to progress (much) faster makes its way into other aspects of your life. Knowing something is rewarding, understanding that it will take time, and understanding it is worth the time is a great feeling.

The ending that I got from this game was very satisfying. Admittedly I had the endings spoiled for me before I played this game, but I had no idea how to trigger them (apart from the obvious one). Because of this I pushed forward with a specific ending in mind and I am glad that I did this.

For some spoiler GIFs that I find oh-so-charming please click the following links:

  1. Game ending GIF 1
  2. Game ending GIF 2

Personally I needed the message from this game. I needed to slow down and stop worrying.