In preparation for this month’s podcast, we’ve been playing A Short Hike, Slay the Spire, and Eliza.
The game is very true to its name as you’ll be hiking, but not for very long. In just an hour and a half, I got to experience the entire story of Claire, a bird who has to travel to the top of the mountain in order to get a signal to receive a phone call. Your challenge involves jumping over platforms to make your way up the mountain.
It’s quite hard to classify this game as it’s neither a platformer nor a walking simulator but definitely dips its toes into both genres. You’ll spend a lot of your time walking around the small world on your way to the top of the mountain and on your travels, you’ll encounter other critters that you can talk to.
So is the game good enough to make up for its short runtime?
- Joyful and quaint narrative
- Fantastic characters and writing
- Accessible gameplay
- Hard-to-gauge geometry
Initially, Claire is unable to climb these steeper parts of the environment and needs to collect golden feathers which effectively provide her with the stamina for climbing. You’ll find these golden feathers scattered around the environment by getting to hard-to-reach places, speaking to vendors, or completing objectives dished out by the NPCs.
Since the writing is so good and taking to everyone is so fun, finding feathers is never a chore. There are also other items like shovels, fishing rods, buckets that you can collect throughout the game which ultimately increase your feather-finding abilities.
The gameplay is incredibly simple and makes the game even more compelling. Even casual players should be able to sink their teeth into this micro-adventure and quickly pick up the controls and get an idea of what they’re supposed to be doing.
Additionally, the wonderful art also goes a long way to compliment the whimsy and fun of Claire’s short hike. As you can see from the screenshot, not only are the models low-poly but the resolution of the game and apparently lack of anti-aliasing makes the whole thing look like it was on the original Nintendo DS.
The only flaws I encountered were that Claire would occasionally fall behind a set of rocks or slip off the unusual geometry of the levels. Thankfully, you’re never really penalised for mistakes in this game. After all, it’s quite easy to get back to where you were before.
This game is great if you fancy playing something light-hearted that will warm your heart and have you chuckling throughout; it’s definitely worth checking out.
A Short Hike was developed by Adamgryu and is available on PC.