I always talk about how much I love emotional narrative games, especially when paired with gorgeous graphics and atmospheric music. In a good narrative game, graphics and music are factors that cancompletely alter the entire experience for me, and can transform it from being one that is just ‘okay’ into being truly memorable. This game, The Longest Road on Earth, by Brainwash Gang, Raw Fury and TLR Games, has story, emotion, music and artistic flair in spades.
There’s a catch though: there’s no dialogue or speech to communicate any of the story. Kinda baffling for a story game, right? This quirk is frequently used in the advertising relating to the game. What this enables, while initially confusing, is an interesting flexibility that truly makes it stand out as a narrative game. As the Steam page for the game testifies: ‘[t]he lack of dialogue or text allows you to create your own narrative through your time with four characters’. It’s an interesting concept, and the developers make it work. The game is simultaneously emotive, atmospheric and mysterious in the stories that it puts forth.
It’s a testament to the artistic qualities of the game that it’s able to communicate its story with such potency while lacking text. The pixel art is undoubtedly stunning, as you can see from the images in this post. The detail in the pixel art is captivating, and it being in black and white certainly makes it all the more haunting, which works perfectly for a game that is so emotive.
Another of the highlights is of course the soundtrack. The Longest Road on Earth contains twenty original songs that are incredibly beautiful, and which carry the player through the two-hour game. You can listen to it here. And you should. Composed by Beícoli, this poetic collection of tracks fits this story perfectly. It is the songs, more than anything, that assist in the telling of this story.
If there’s one criticism I have about the game, it’s that it could use something else other than sheer beauty to carry it forward. Don’t get me wrong – it works, and it works gorgeously. But the frequent, long stretches of walking required do get monotonous at times, regardless of how profound it is. And that is the majority of what you do in the game – walking, with some interacting with items too. Which is fine with me. I have no issues with walking. But I just think it’d do well with a little more varied engagement. I can’t speak much as to what that would be, though, as the lack of speech and text makes this a little more difficult a task.
I must insist, however, that it does work as it is, and to great effect. The extra engagement is more preference on my part. The game does a really good job at drawing together both the magic and monotony in everyday moments, and the minimalism communicates this extremely well. It is certainly a polished experience that knows exactly what it wants to achieve – and it does it. At only two hours long, it’s definitely worth playing if you love a narrative game.
The Longest Road on Earth is available on Switch, PS4, PS5, Steam and Xbox.