“Hell is empty and all the devils are here.” – William Shakespeare
Developer: Pyxton Studios
Released: Early Access from 13th December 2019
Available on: Steam
Beyond Senses is a multiplayer horror game centred around the idea of hunting and banishing evil and supernatural entities. Players can adopt the role of the hunter or the hunted and explore the various game modes solo or with up to four friends. The game was recently made available as an early access title with the developers stating they intend to update and improve the game ‘hand in hand with the community‘.
On the surface Beyond Senses appears ambitious in its gameplay, with different game modes, maps, multiplayer options, levelling up, skills and more. The current reality, however, is somewhat underwhelming. There are two game modes currently available, Hunt and Egoist, with a third, Banishment, to be made available in January 2020.
The Hunt game mode involves charging energy crystals to weaken the monster/s for a pre-determined length of time in order to be able to kill and banish it afterwards. The former part of this game mode takes a minimum of 5 minutes and leaves the player next to defenceless whilst wandering one of three currently available maps and ensuring crystals are kept charged – only after the time has depleted can you even begin to attack, making for slow and repetitive gameplay with very little reward. Egoist varies only in that as different players charge/take control of crystals, the monster is only weakened for them, adding an element of PVP competition but not much else.
The game modes are configurable and can be adjusted according to player preferences, group size and other factors. However, all existing modes are at their core, tailored more for larger groups and creating a genuinely exciting scenario with just 1 or 2 players was difficult. Even with the additional features of a levelling system, skills, items and skins, the game in its current state felt lacklustre. However, future plans include ‘10+ game modes, 15+ maps, 8+ monsters, 10+ gadgets, 8+ weapons, and 10+ hunter skills‘ which could add some much-needed variety to the game.
Styling and Performance
In terms of first impressions, there a number of bugs and performance issues when trying to start the game. Whilst some technical problems should be expected from in-development titles, it seems odd that such jarring issues early on in the experience haven’t been picked up on yet.
Beyond Senses has a very dark and muted aesthetic, verging on black and white and while this can serve to add some creepiness, the lighting was minimal and seeing objects such as ammo (even when the locations are marked on a map) was frustratingly tricky. Additionally, despite the boasts of customisation and character skins, the character models themselves are void of much variety and somewhat dated in appearance.
The music and sound effects are implemented in a much more impactful way and do actually add tension. This is especially prominent during monster encounters as the current monsters are slow-moving and unintimidating for the most part.
Whilst Beyond Senses is ambitious and has the potential to provide fun multiplayer horror gameplay, it is very limited in its current state and fails to give the player any sense of fear, or the adrenaline rush one might expect. Overall, the game feels hurried and it could easily be argued that it is too early in development even for early access. If it’s the sort of game that appeals to you, it might be worth keeping an eye on but probably isn’t worth your investment just yet!