“[A] cute and creepy adventure game within a magical storybook. You play as both the reader of the book and its main character, Luka. Explore the town to find word charms. Use your charms to change the course of fate!”
Those who believe that a sugary sweet graphic style and animal kids as protagonists in video games should automatically attract a young target audience will be proven wrong by “Beacon Pines”. In this adventure game of a different kind, a mystery disturbs the otherwise blissful peace of the village, and the rascal Luka is determined to solve it. Why? Because he is hoping for answers that could lead him to the whereabouts of his recently disappeared mother. Together with his friend Rolo, he wants to explore the dark corners of the forest.
Of course, there are a few obstacles to overcome, but the amount of puzzles is quite low in the demo version. Instead, the focus is set on narrative exploration, which is especially supported by the innovative core mechanics of “Beacon Pines”: You can find so-called ‘word charms’ and use them at important junctions in the story, which changes the entire course. Should Luka act strangely toward his bullies or bring them to their knees with the power of laughter? Is it better to attempt an escape from the unknown, or should you embrace change? With the help of the word charms, alternative scenarios and thus endings can be discovered.
But what makes this game design really interesting is the fact that you can find word charms again in these alternate scenarios, which can then be used at earlier story branches and lead to new ones. Exploring the world of “Beacon Pines” in detail is therefore not only a feast for all lovers of beautifully designed video games, but also for fans of unconventional storytelling. I am very curious to see what kind of variety the full version of this title will offer – the hour I have been able to spend with it so far has been a treat, anyway. [PLAY]