A Short Hike
A Short Hike is a 3D adventure exploration game with Metroidvania elements. It was developed primarily by Adam Robinson-Yu and published by Robinson-Yu and Whippoorwill Limited. The game was originally released on Linux, Macintosh, and Windows on 2019-07-30, then ported to Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
The game is set on a mountainous island park called Hawk's Peak in a world populated by anthropomorphic animals. The player controls Claire, a young bird who isn't enjoying the beautiful scenery because she's far more interested in getting cellphone reception to receive an important call from her mother. She is informed that the only place where she can expect to get reception is on the mountain's summit, so she sets off on a hike up the trails. On her climb, she encounters numerous setbacks which prevent her from making progress, but, by conversing with the various other campers and helping them out, she's able to earn the tools she needs to ascend.
I bought this game as part of itch.io's Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality in 2020. I initially went through the massive trove of games and downloaded anything that looked interesting, and, from the screenshots and trailer, this game caught my eye. However, so did several dozen others, so it sat unplayed on my hard drive for a couple years. After enjoying the game with his family, my friend Beau suggested that I would love it too, so I tried it out. I'm grateful he told me about it because the game was extremely enjoyable, and I beat version 1.8.14 on 2023-03-08. I got 11/12 achievements, but had to look up the toast one. I now also own the game in Steam which I got as part of a Humble Bundle.
Best Version: Windows
— This section contains spoilers! —
- The game has superb controls. Jumping, climbing, driving, and flying all feel natural, and the camera almost always pans slowly while giving you a good look at what you're interested in seeing. I never had to fight with the camera, and I didn't spend half the game looking at an extreme closeup of my character like with many early 3D games.
- The vibrant colors in the cartoon graphics of the island look very nice. I also like how distant objects become hazy, but their outlines are maintained to help you keep your bearings. They become beautiful when you reach the top of Hawk's Peak. It definitely is worth the view.
- The flying mechanic is amazingly well-coded; being able to glide around the mountain and see the NPCs walking around down below is a very comforting experience. And it's not just the controls, gradually increasing the player's flight power as they finish quests is a good reward system which keeps them seeking out more golden feathers.
- The wonderful music by Mark Sparling combines soft background tunes with up-beat hummable melodies. There are nice atmospheric sound effects as well.
- The various NPCs you meet all have a lot of character; some are funny while others are insightful.
- The game is extremely endearing. After playing for only a few minutes, I could already tell I was going to like it, and, the more time I spent playing, the more I found it charming. I've played many games which take a while to appreciate or start strong, but become repetitive, but this one kept me excited the entire time I played it.
- The main quest is a bit short, but, with all the minigames, achievements, secret areas, and hidden objects, the game continues to offer new content long after you've beaten it. I've spent about 4 hours on it, and intend to do more. It even has a built-in speed run mode.
- Reaching the top of Hawk's Peak, and seeing the story unfold is very fulfilling.
- Sometimes the camera circles around while you're flying which makes it difficult to go where you want. I would also like it if you could adjust it a bit more by looking around, but that would probably ruin a lot of the secrets.
- I would have liked a quest log. With so much to do, I frequently got sidetracked and forgot previous things I was working on. It's not really necessary since the game world is small enough that you'll stumble upon the same NPC again, but it beats having to write things down.
- I don't feel like pixelating the graphics added anything to the game. Polygons only ever look worse at low resolution, and, since the game doesn't have any pixel art, it should default to the best resolution the hardware can handle.
- I was a bit confused as to why I didn't earn the ending achievement after I reached the top. Having to take a nap to make the credits roll felt a bit unnecessary.
- This is very minor, but, each time you continue the game, it adds the sticks, pickaxes, and clam shells back onto the map even though there is nothing new to do with them.
- The toast achievement is pretty ridiculous.
All of the covers focus on Claire, but do so in different ways.
|Strong female character?||Pass||Throughout the game, Claire overcomes difficulty and helps many people around her.|
|Bechdel test?||Pass||Claire talks to several other women about a variety of things.|
|Strong person of color character?||Fail||All of the characters are animals.|
|Queer character?||Fail||There don't appear to be any queer characters.|
Save game information is stored in C:\Users\User Name\AppData\LocalLow\adamgryu\A Short Hike