So I don't really have the money to go around buying games, but I bought The Longing today anyway because I'm really intrigued by the premise of it. It's described as an adventure game crossed with an idle game, and I guess that's a good enough summary, but it's not much like the “leave the game running to make the numbers go up so you can buy things to make the numbers go up faster and That's It” genre of idle games.

The basic premise is: you play a little creature – “the Shade” – who is waiting, alone, in a network of caves underground, for his king to awaken. The king is sleeping for 400 days. Real-time days. The shade is lonely and bored.

You can get the shade to walk around and explore; they walk slowly and there's no fast travel to anywhere, but you can set them off walking somewhere, tab out, and come back when they've got there. You can find them things to make their little home-cave a bit nicer and help them pass the time. And you can keep them company while they explore, read, decorate their cave and wait for the king. That's it, that's the game. You can, apparently, technically win by starting the game once, closing it, and coming back 400 days later to wake the king up, but there are multiple endings depending (presumably) on how you spend your time waiting.

(Okay, that's not absolutely it – you can also make the time pass faster. Reading passes time faster, and apparently decorating the home-cave nicely will make the time pass a little faster when the shade is in it, though I don't know by how much.)

I've only played for maybe an hour – and most of that was waiting for the shade to walk somewhere – but so far I like it. The shade feels like a little friend I can drop in and visit and help out, and I'm a sucker for anything that blurs the real-world and game-world boundaries, even if it's just by making you wait the way the shade has to.

And, well. I don't know how long the lockdown will last for most people, but for me... My partner's immunocompromised. I have asthma. I have a small child who may also have asthma. I hope it's not 400 days, but I'm not going to be going anywhere anytime soon either, shade; let's hang out and pass the time together.