A Short Hike 

Jul 30, 2019
A Short Hike

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A Short Hike 

Jul 30, 2019

Hike, climb, and soar through the peaceful mountainside landscapes of Hawk Peak Provincial Park as you make your way to the summit.


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A Short Hike just goes to show how much more you can do with less. It’s a simplistic premise about taking a hike up a mountain that reveals surprising layers of depth the more time you spend there. More importantly it’s the best kind of distraction: A game that takes you somewhere else for at least a little while.

The game’s top down perspective and artstyle immediately brings to mind Animal Crossing, but the game gently subverts your expectations by adding more options to your movement. You can run, jump, glide and climb virtually any wall, which will render ground that seems unexplored completely interactive. What seems to be a gentle immersive sim peels back the curtain to reveal a surprisingly tight 3D platformer with a host of toyetic mechanics to mess around with.

It’s less the size of an open world and more like a park or a jungle gym where you’re encouraged to run wild for a few until you’re all tuckered out. The overarching goal is to get Claire to the top in faint hope that her cell phone will get a signal so she can receive an important call, but she can’t make the climb without Golden Feathers, the game’s principle collectable that will increase her mobility. Thankfully the denizens Hack Peak Providence Park are willing to part with them if you humor their quirky games, responsibilities or desires for a bit.

This open ended progression calls to mind a lot of early 3D collectathons without much of the padding of those games. Exploring, playing minigames and completing side missions is usually fun in their own right with these concepts exhibiting a lot of polish. The direct impact just completing them has on Claire’s movement is the best kind of motivator to keep trying things, enforcing a satisfying experience in every way.

The camera perspective and tone along with the tight 3D platforming will bring back a host of titles from the gamecube era, but since these elements are blended into the same world in a smooth way, the nostalgia factor mostly works in the game’s favor. This game’s target audience likely played Animal Crossing, Super Mario Sunshine, Wind Waker etc. at Claire’s age so the send-ups will bring a player back to a time where they might have resonated the most with her.

We don’t really know what’s got Claire so worked up until the end, and initially I felt like this was a mistake but thinking back on it it might not have been hidden as a way to have a twist toward the end. Perhaps it was done so players of any kind would insert herself into her shoes.in her shoes. Any worries or anxieties pulling at the back of your mind are sure to disappear for at least a little while as you spend a day running and playing on an island paradise with your friends.

The game’s length will definitely be a point of criticism going forward, but I think it largely works to it’s benefit. No concerns about total playtime means only the most polished of gimmicks, mechanics and minigames made it into the final game. It also kind of fits the game’s premise as a short, fleeting day spent away from normalcy. It’s like a day spent at a birthday party, the beach, or even inside playing a cool new game that only lasted a couple of hours as a child but left an impression on you for a long time.

Reviewed on Jul 01, 2020

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Animal Crossing meets Celeste meets Breath of the Wild.

Reviewed on Jun 28, 2020

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really excellent, heartfelt game. just a joyous space to explore. my fullest recommendation. however i cannot help but make one slightly mean criticism, which is that the dialogue sometimes feels like it was written by someone who had seen screenshots of night in the woods but never played it

Reviewed on Jun 28, 2020

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very uwu. uwu/uwu

Reviewed on Jun 27, 2020

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yet another game of pure expression. a short hike is chill. it knows it's tiny open world is full of new beautiful lookouts and caves. it knows its characters are cute. it thinks YOU are cute. go on a date with a short hike. you could kiss at the peak.

Reviewed on Jun 26, 2020

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A very cute, laid-back game about climbing a mountain. The mood and even some of the mechanics remind me of Animal Crossing, but implemented into a more linear, objective-based experience. The pixelated style makes it distinct and adds to the cozy atmosphere. I'd highly recommend to anybody looking for a wholesome little break from their usual backlog.

Reviewed on Jun 23, 2020

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