Beacon Pines is a visual novel, but really it qualifies with a new level of cozy interaction and fathoms deep optimistic complexity to its characters. The basic structure of the story relies on an interesting “plot device” made of… well, plot devices! You start in a storybook tale of a young fawn, though I’d say that’s up for interpretation, named Luka at his grandmother’s. Through exploration and experimentation and interacting with those around you can acquire something known as “charms.” Charms help change the course of the story. You may need to go back and forth to test what works and what doesn’t, but with each charm, comes some new element that alters everything. Hold on to your BOOK straps, we’re going in.
This is another showcase part of The Indie Houses Event on Steam. Lots of new games there and through my community at Indie Game Collective. Another game I covered for this event was Kraken Academy on Tuesday.
Things Happening in Beacon Pines
When I first loaded this game up, my emotions went twisting around inside me with the stunning cottage core nature setting mixed with Luka’s very deeply personal interaction in a grove. It seemed like a picture that wouldn’t move yet swished beneath your shoes as you walked through the grass. Nothing is quite explained too thoroughly for quite a bit of time. You’ll certainly find that browsing around Gran and You’s cottage leads to interesting discoveries and necessary elements of the game. You’ll have to at least talk to Gran, so you can learn the purpose of the “charms” spread throughout this game.
I don’t really know what the charms are. I got charms with words like “chill” and “ponder.” And later on, one was a TURD, what!! Anyway, my first charm was “chill.” It didn’t seem to do much at all, or maybe it did, I don’t know. It takes time to wander through the small town of Beacon Pines though, and at this point, it’s the only way to test out each charm. I might be wrong though because apparently, you can move backward in intervals depending on what’s already happened. It’s kind of like a spellbook I guess you could say.
That is perfectly okay, as far as I’m concerned. The characters whom you are able to talk to around the town are really cool looking and have some great dialogue. Great game dialogue is a boon, and when games master it, it can enhance the rest of the game.
Features of Beacon Pines
Here is a list of features from the press kit:
- Explore an illustrated mountain town to collect word charms
- Use those words to alter the story
- More words to make friends
- And even more wordthose words to weave the fabric of fate itself
- Open the magical book at any time to go back and change your decisions
What I Wonder
The last part of the game I played before making the final quantum leap home was the abandoned warehouse. This part of the game intrigued me more than any other. Why wouldn’t you have an abandoned warehouse with toxic sludge and people who shouldn’t be there as you sneak in with your friends? It’s mysterious, and a tad weird. It is totally part of canon practically in a boatload of visual novels, comics, TV, etc. Unfortunately, reader, I cannot share why exactly the warehouse is there.
As far as the mechanics, this concept is ready to go. The storyline feels like it’s going to take on some substantial developments down the road though. It does not step on any thematic toes for the majority of the story than anywhere else. I think the only game I might compare it to is is Bastion, classic predecessor to Hades. Mostly visually though.
I love what I saw in this demo, and for a low price of free, you should check it out.
Here is some gameplay footage if you want to see what transpired of the course of around half an hour up until its cliffhanger. It might give you a boost.
That’s about it for my coverage on this one. No news is not bad news, as Tom Nook says. I think you’ll enjoy this cast of fuzzy creatures. And if you can wishlist it on Steam, even better! Link below.
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