When I first started Adam Robinson-Yu’s a Short Hike, I was hoping for a relaxing game that I could become pleasantly addicted to for a few hours. Wow delivered this game. The story is simple. While visiting a relative on a small island, Claire is waiting for an important call and learns that the best place to receive a cell phone is on top of a mountain. Your trip to the top includes a series of memorable interactions with the other inhabitants of the Island, which leads to a series of pleasant distractions.
I was delighted to discover a refreshing touch by playing a mini-game “Beachstickball”.”After explaining the basic commands, the mini-game simply begins. With 30 years of video game experience in me, I tried to find every possible way to poke the ball or outwit my opponent to score a point. After finally failing, it turned out that it was actually a cooperative game with the aim of achieving a certain number of volleys. Not only that, but I realized that we had already exceeded our goal. What a refreshing change that distinguished the general spirit of a short hike.
The Gameplay focuses on exploration and seems to be inspired by The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Claire can run, jump, fly and climb, all regulated by an endurance system. Claire increases her stamina by collecting golden feathers. These can be obtained by buying them, finding them and completing side quests. The player can reach the Top only after finding a certain number of feathers.
At first I thought I would be annoyed by the lack of a map and Sidequest checklists. In about half an hour of playing, I realized that the absence of these systems encouraged the player to learn more about the island and its inhabitants. In this regard, the game has the perfect size, because The absence of these systems usually corresponds to this smaller experience.
A short hike shows a unique artistic style that fits perfectly with this. All the islanders are pixelated animals reminiscent of Animal Crossing. The overall visual effect is simple but charming and blends well with the music and the atmosphere of the game.
The audio design is excellent. The soundtrack, created by Mark Sparling, was perfect for the experience. I especially liked the audio effects. The sound of picking up coins and feathers were some of my favorites.
The dialogue stands out on a large scale. The conversations between the characters are contemporary, funny and often hilarious. In fact, I’ve laughed out loud several times and I’m looking forward to every interaction. Talking to the same character several times offers additional rewards, as they each have about 3-4 different pieces of dialogue before they start repeating each other.
Although I didn’t break a game, I did action with the camera from time to time. The view is isomeric and I feel like I would have learned the peculiarities of the Island faster if I had had full control of the camera. The isometric camera creates a more afteral feeling of the island, while the full control of the camera would have allowed a better understanding of where things are on one side of the Island compared to the other.
It can also be argued that this game can be overcome quite quickly if the player rushes into it, although I doubt that someone who likes this type of game would run to the top of the mountain anyway. Would I have liked this game to be a little longer? Of course. Although part of the charm is to repeat the game, relive the dialogue with the other inhabitants and get to know the Island from the inside and outside.
A short hike is a wonderful experience, clearly designed with love and intention. This is one of the few games that I smack and played immediately. Robinson-Yu has created pure Magic with this title and the experience is something I want to experience at least once in the summer. A short hike begs to be played on a lazy Sunday with a nice glass of Lemonade by your side!