Developer: Corey Martin, Draknek & Friends
Publisher: Draknek & Friends
Genre(s): Puzzle, Arcade, Adventure
Platform: Nintendo Switch (Also available on PC, PS4 and PS5)
Age Rating: PEGI 7
Release Date: 30/09/2021
A code was provided for review purposes
Throughout the summer of 2021, I was desperate for the quiet autumn nights. Wrapped up in my newest blanket addition, with a pumpkin spice candle glistening on the mantlepiece, was all a gal could dream of.
All of that alongside the latest release of an indie puzzle game on my Nintendo Switch was my idea of a perfect autumn evening. Over the weeks leading up to my favourite time of year, I noticed a teaser on Tik Tok, of a game called Bonfire Peaks. The harmonious music and warm colour palette caught my attention immediately. There and then I added it to my wishlist. Today we find out how the last few weeks of puzzling commenced.
A Blazing Puzzler
As the name depicts, bonfires are the uttermost central part of this game. Life for your character (who remains unnamed), is simple. They venture out into the deep wilderness, a box of belongings being carried along the way. Our journey together, into the blaze, takes centre stage and we are presented with every aim of every puzzle. Burn baby burn!
What we are burning and why, remains unknown, but perhaps there’s a prequel around the corner?
The puzzles themselves involve you pushing, carrying, sliding, and walking whichever way deems necessary, in order to get your box of goodies sat nicely roasting in the fire. However, this block styled game has its conundrums, and you can only move certain ways depending on where you are facing. Not only that but when carrying another box, it will move with you, so be prepared with plenty of space and avoid falling off any surfaces. With the earlier puzzles assisting in teaching you how the game works, and how to move around, it quickly becomes apparent that the levels might take a fair few tries.
A Beautiful Voxel Tour
My experience of voxel style games has been limited. A memory that certainly stands out is the night sky of Minecraft, snooping in villagers’ homes. Bonfire Peaks make any voxel game’s graphic style and production look of poor quality. For a game limited with its dimensions, it has created a beautiful world.
The entire game uses the same colour palette and any venturing off this creates a statement piece, such as the car seen in the above image. The bonfire glimmers with warm reds and yellows while resting in a woodland of draped vines, and breezy trees. If this was a real place, I picture it humming with little birds, and water gliding past in a small stream. The entire game creates tranquillity, and mindfulness as you absorb the peace and serenity.
While the picturesque graphics are one thing to gawp over, the audio and soundtrack for the game are enough to soothe anyone out of a stressful day. From the title screen to the end credits, a soft tone, and warming melody chimes out through the trees. The soundtrack and views created from the game, are enough to convince anyone, that life in the woods is all we need.
From Ashes to Ashes
We all love a cosy game supported with the right mechanisms. The game has it all. But to be perfectly honest, it doesn’t matter how many bonfires it invites me to light, this game pushed so many of my buttons. And I’m not referring to the right ones.
It instantly became apparent, that you must move your quiet unknown protagonist around the map in a certain method in order to place your box of belongings on the fire. However, that’s not to say that learning this point made the puzzles any easier. I now think, that the inviting autumn aesthetic is a complete decoy, and our man in question is dealing with some rough stuff. Perhaps a nasty breakup that requires all of their exes’ things to be burnt into oblivion? Or a home they no longer want to remember. Either way, this dude is going through something.
As mentioned earlier, the puzzles do teach you how they expect you to play the game. As you progress through the different areas, you learn how to use certain things to your advantage. For example, a stream flowing one way might help you get hold of some boxes. Or carrying a longer box, might enable you to push something that you would otherwise not be able to obtain. The continued introduction of new abilities really puts a test on your puzzle-solving skills.
Keeping Up With the Kontrols
As your movements are limited in the game, depending on what you are doing, it is a puzzle in itself trying to remember what button does what. Because as soon as you change direction, the inner protagonist’s compass also changes, creating a whole new wave of chaos. Something of which I certainly couldn’t keep up with. No amount of mindful soundscape supplied by Bonfire Peaks could destress me from the frustration of trying to play this game. Furthermore, as you complete each level you are rewarded with a box, which then must be used to create a bridge, or tower, which is necessary to get you to the next platform of levels. A puzzle within the world of finding the puzzles.
Reviewing my parallel Scandinavian adventure through the woods of Bonfire Peaks, I feel like a new woman. I have a new appreciation for patience and for taking things slow. I think that is something I have learnt from the game. The puzzles were really hard. I’m not going to deny that at all. But I think it is evident that in order to complete the puzzles correctly, you must take your time. In a world of instant satisfaction and reward from what we choose to produce, success in completing games has become as desired as the instant gratification from watching a 3-second Boomerang. Games should be enjoyed freely and easy, without the need that they should be completed the second you get hold of them. While processing each level within the game, I absorbed the scenery, and structure for how to complete it. It slowed me down, but I see that as a complete win.
Bonfire Peaks is a game suppressing the audacious actions of a fast-paced world. It creates a solemn atmosphere, providing thought-provoking and engaging puzzles, for everyone to enjoy. The warmest of games, perfect for every puzzling contender.
Rapid Reviews Rating
4.5 out of 5
You can purchase Bonfire Peaks here on the Nintendo Store.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.