XING: The Land Beyond by White Lotus Interactive is a 3D puzzle game with a good variety of things to figure out and places to explore. Exploration wasn’t a main theme, but there were some rewards to be found here and there. I had a good few hours of great fun (14 according to Steam).
The game offers a large variety of fruit — and coconuts, which also count as fruit. I set the coconuts one fire and watched them burn¹. I found a golden banana — and a pineapple, not golden though, just a normal pineapple living it up in the suburbs. I fed big fish with fruit shaped like a handgranade. I bounced other kinds of fruit on drums and tried to do it in the correct order, but failed for a long while. XING: “The Land of Fruit” is a game about you, a collector of dead souls — if you haven’t guessed already — and, apparently, when we die, we all speak in rhymed verse with odd metrics. As the grim reaper you have many perfectly expected talents like pushing boxes, controlling the time of day, and making it rain. It’s great.
All tongue-in-cheek aside: A lot of puzzles in puzzle games don’t make sense when it comes to motivation and reason for doing something, but if a puzzle game offered only puzzles that made sense, it wouldn’t be as much fun, and might even stop being a puzzle game (I have no idea why I need to throw fruit left and right in order to do my job, but I still do it, because it’s fun). You either come to accept this and enjoy the game², or you don’t and have a duller life as a result³.
After finally solving the “fruit and drums” puzzle — which happened mostly by chance — everything went pretty smooth. I had a lot of fun figuring things out and exploring the surroundings, which were as varied as the puzzles. The game kept introducing new puzzles mechanics all throughout the game, so if you ever get bored of one type of puzzle, there’s always another type waiting around the corner. There were two reocurring themes, though: moving boxes and doing things in the correct order. In general, the puzzles aren’t overly challenging, but enough to keep you busy. There’s also a lot of extra content. When you are not solving puzzles, you can just walk around for a bit and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
The writing in XING is mostly short rhymed verse and proverbs, and, since you are, after all, a human relations manager (specialising in diversity and inclusion), the stories being told by the souls you collect are of an intra[inter].personal⁴ nature. I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the story, because I was more invested in the puzzles, which I often am in any puzzle game.
I ended up muting the music and listening only to the natural sounds (rain, wind, birds etc), which was nice and relaxing.
¹*cue evil laugh*
²Suspension of disbelief.
⁴Hello there, All the Delicate Duplicates, see now what you made me do… 😉