Released: 30 July 2019
A Short Hike is a casual, easygoing 3D platformer by developer adamgryu. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city life, Claire has gone camping with her Aunt May at the foot of a tall mountain on an island. Although the two birds are enjoying their visit, Claire runs into a problem: the only place with cellphone reception is Hawk Peak!
Claire can jump, glide, and climb cliffs and walls, plus she can also interact with the environment by talking to others or picking up objects and coins. As she explores the island, she runs into golden feathers which give her more stamina, allowing multiple jumps and climbing for a longer time.
Even though climbing the mountain is a central theme of the game, A Short Hike is an incredibly easy and relaxing experience. You won’t take fall damage under any circumstances, and it’s impossible to die, emphasizing the game’s carefree nature. In addition, the more golden feathers you have, the more trivial scaling any part of the mountain becomes!
On the way up to Hawk Peak, you will meet a broad, diverse cast of characters, help them out and partake in activities with them. One of my favorite activities was playing ‘beachstickball’ with a pair of little birds, which is like volleyball except played by hitting it with sticks. The best part about beachstickball is that it’s not a competitive game but a cooperative activity where both players win simply by scoring points together – a refreshing take on the sport.
The only real issue with A Short Hike is the fact that it is indeed a short hike. If you gun straight to the top, it won’t even take half an hour, and even getting distracted by the various things you can do around the island would probably take almost two hours.
Artstyle and Audio
A Short Hike’s art style immensely adds to the charming setting and gameplay, with its bright, flat colors and cutesy characters, though it is obscured by pixelation. Although the game is meant to be played with its default pixel graphics, the settings allow you to tone it down by various degrees and even get it to look more like an HD game, which I preferred immensely, but your mileage may vary.
The music, which changes depending on the area you’re in, is worth listening to 100%. The musical direction is that of a “young bird exploring her area and community” rather than that of a grand, epic adventure, and listening to it is a reinvigorating experience.
Though it may be A Short Hike, I can say with absolute certainty that it was an enjoyable hike. The game isn’t challenging, in fact it’s too easy, but that doesn’t make it any less of a joyful experience. I certainly recommend picking it up at any price point. Have fun!