REVIEW: A Short Hike - Nintendo Switch
Just how short is it?
A Short Hike is a charming adventure game where you follow Claire, a bird who is visiting her Aunt at Hawk Peak Provincial Park. Expecting a phone call however lacking reception; Claire embarks on a journey to the peak (the only area in the park with cell reception) and your hike starts. Developed and published by adamgryu (who also worked on Pitfall Planet) this game came to Nintendo Switch on August 18th 2020 after first being released on PC in July 2019.
The game begins the morning after Claire is dropped off at her Aunt's cabin at the Park and after a short dialogue, the quest begins. From there, Claire starts her quest to the peak running into numerous other visitors and inhabitants of the park who, if you choose to speak to, will give you hints for your voyage or set you on smaller side quests such as: collecting sea shells, catching fish, races and many more! By completing these requests/quests you are usually rewarded with coins or golden feathers. Golden feathers are the main item in the game which make the journey to the peak easier for the player - allowing Claire to double-jump or climb rock faces depending on how many golden feathers you have acquired.
One of my favourite parts of this game is the charming NPCs, with a wide range of different personalities ranging from a frog you meet on the beach who crafts their own sand kingdom, to an artist you see all over the island painting the beautiful pixel-y scenery. Speaking of the visuals, the game is intended to be seen in its chunky pixel format however if this is not for you, there is an option to make the pixel size smaller to make everything clearer, which is a really nice touch. I enjoyed the relaxing nature of the game, although the main objective is laid out to you from the start there is no pressure to rush to complete it. The game doesn't punish you for taking leisurely strolls across the island and I often found myself gliding around the island taking in the music and scenery with no thought of the main objective. The soundtrack of the game (composed by Mark Sparling) added to the relaxing nature and it is such an enjoyable listen, even if the game isn't for you it is definitely worth listening to and can be found on Spotify and other streaming services.
Once you've finished the game after around 4-5 hours playing (this being on the longer side of completion after spending so much time exploring) I honestly can't see many faults with it at all. The one quality of life aspect I would add to improve it is an in game map (there could be one but I didn't find it), I often found myself finding an item to complete a quest but not remembering where the NPC who set me on said quest was leaving me relentlessly search the island for them after - that sometimes being more long winded than the actual quest. However I also feel that the exclusion of an in game map encouraged exploration which led me to find new areas I missed the first time around and this made the game more enjoyable.
Along with the Switch release came a new boating update, which allows players to hire out a boat in game and race your way around the island. This made exploration so much easier and plus who doesn't love racing around the waters at high speeds pulling all kinds of crazy turns?! I think I spent a good half hour if not more just speeding around the waters that surround the island.
Overall A Short Hike is definitely not a short hike but in fact a charming adventure which is great method of relaxation and fun. I had a blast with the few hours I put into the game and I think I'll be revisiting it any time I need to wind down after a hard day. This is definitely worth picking up, especially considering the really low price point of just £5.79 on Steam or £6.29 on the Switch.