Remember the unique mix of point and click adventuring with an idle game in The Longing? It's supposed to have taken people 400 days to finish and it released back in March 2020 - to which I was impressed with it.
This is because when you start, a big timer at the top of your screen will count down from 400 real-time days. It's a painfully slow game, and one that's very much the anti-AAA shot some readers might be needing. It's all about loneliness, and the longing to know more and have more. It's such a thoroughly strange experience.
The Longing sits between a point and click adventure with an idle game. You can walk around, interact with things and explore for a while. However, certain parts of it force you to wait. You might need something to grow or get broken before you can pass, or even just opening a big door might take an hour or two. You can just quit and come back, and time will continue on so you don't need to have it open.
I decided quite early on I would wait it out, and wait I have. We're down to around 61 days left to find out what happens at the end this way and I'm a little sad. The Longing is such a peaceful experience that doesn't come along so often, I genuinely wish it was bigger and had a lot more to explore. That said, I'm still constantly lost in what's there already and even after 340 days or so, there's probably plenty I've missed. That's what's so good about The Longing, it's that mystery and the feeling of needing to know more but having to hold yourself and you intense curiosity back.
Being honest here, I feel a bit bad about forgetting my little friend Shade. All alone for hundreds of days in total, just standing and staring at the moss waiting for it to grow so I can harvest it to get a big stone face to talk to me. If anything, The Longing has taught me to value patience. Today for example, I explored a bunch of caves and found what might be the only other living creature in the whole underground system — a spider. I went to talk to my new friend, fell through its web and now it's building a new one somewhere else that looks like I might be able to use to climb to a new area.
I guess I'll come back and visit again tomorrow…
While it's supposed to take 400 real time days, there are ways to speed up the timer though. I won't spoil exactly how because I think with something like The Longing to wait and do the exploration yourself is truly needed. It does also have multiple endings so people will experience it differently. Really, The Longing is whatever you want it to be. Do you want to treat it like a big mysterious point and click adventure that lasts around 400 days? You could, however you could also hunt down every last possible encounter (of which there's quite a few) and try to find all the secrets. There's actually quite a lot to explore.
There's plenty of places out there with guides and spoilers and more, really I just wanted to remind readers on a unique experience that's really like nothing else right now. I really hope to see more games like this, as it's such a wonderful idea. My own personal journey in The Longing is now looking like it will end early in 2021.