Review: Beacon Pines – Choose Your Perfect Ending – 71Bait

Adventure games are an integral part of video game history. From early text adventure games to point and click graphic adventures of the 90’s, they have shaped the modern gaming industry scene. And yet, with the modern technology and graphical advances of action games, the adventure genre itself has been marginalized.

Modern adventure games have been telling great stories for years, but there hasn’t been any innovation that has pushed the genre forward. Beacon Pinesdeveloped by Hiding Spot and published by Fellow Traveller, manages to stay true to the core of the adventure genre while still innovating and introducing new ideas that a modern adventure game truly deserves.

Beacon Pines two young children visiting a grave under a red tree
Luka visits his father and Rolo invites him on an adventure.

Beacon Pines tells the story of the teenage boy Luka in the small town of Beacon Pines. Luke’s father died a few years ago after an incident at the town’s fertilizer factory, and his mother disappeared a few months before the game started. Luka now lives with his grandmother and Beacon Pines The game begins with him and his best friend Rolo exploring and playing around town and getting into mysterious trouble.

The first thing that catches your eye Beacon Pineshow stunningly beautiful the game looks. The city is divided into small sections, and each building and part of the city is like a detailed and beautiful canvas for the game’s art. Explore Beacon PinesThe world of , seeing the different characters and discovering new places is visually intoxicating.

Beacon Pines chooses between different ways to continue the story
This is how the spells work in Beacon Pines, you can choose how you want the story to continue.

Bonfire Pine‘s story is like an adventure book where you can choose your own adventure and we actually see the book and the written form of the story as we begin a new chapter in the story. The characters themselves have no voice-over, but Kirsten Mize’s narration is a whimsical, emotional, and impactful addition to the gameplay experience. Bonfire Pine feels like playing in a children’s book and the narration is an essential part in bringing the story to life.

We start the story when Luka visits his father’s grave. The little boy has been through a lot, but his best friend Rolo has been there for him since the beginning. Luka is the shy, introverted kid and Rolo is the loud and fun part of the duo. Their friendship feels natural and the characters are well designed and developed. This is about something Beacon Pines this only gets better as we play through the game. There are dozens of characters with roles big or small, but they all play their part in the story, they all feel unique and interesting, and that makes the game’s world extra fun to explore.

Luka relaxes in a small room
Luka is chilling in “Mission Control,” a name Rolo gave her little tree house.

The city is relatively small and there are only a handful of locations we can visit in each chapter of the story. But interacting with each character at different times is such an enjoyable experience that I was never in a hurry to get to the next chapter. I wanted to explore everything, see what everyone is doing and hear what they have to say. The characters make the world Beacon Pines appealing and entertaining.

While Beacon Pines is not technically a point and click game, the gameplay looping is very similar to this classic genre. We’ll go through the different parts of the world, interacting with the characters and using certain objects to advance the story. In case of Beacon Pines, we have no inventory or items to use, instead we have amulets. specific words that we can use to fill in the gaps in the book. These choices we make throughout the story will lead us down different paths, and each path may have its own ending. Some short, some tragic, and some not as satisfying as we had hoped.

Young Lukas with a fishing rod around a small pond
Luka can visit the pond he and his father fished from and relive some old memories.

This is a better implementation of classic “puzzles” in adventure games. We’re used to throwing everything we have at the problem until we find the right answer. but Beacon Pines gives us limited choices, and none of them is a wrong answer. Each choice and its subsequent paths are part of a larger story, and exploring each one is what the game asks of us. We see the results of poor decisions, but we don’t lose the game or progress because of it. Beacon Pines doesn’t punish bad decisions, it encourages them. And it’s the bad choices that can lead to memorable and amazing stories.

This is the brilliance of Beacon Pines‘ narrative design. By seeing different endings and outcomes, we’ll learn new clues or learn more about certain characters, and then we’ll go back and choose a different path to see how that one will play out. This mechanic demystifies the importance of a happy ending and literally shows that it’s about the journey. And yet we see so many different outcomes of our choices that it’s even more satisfying when we get to the actual ending of the story.

Beacon Pines story branches shown in the book
We can choose different points in the story to revisit and choose different charms.

Even in the fictional and whimsical world and cast of characters Beacon Pines, the story is really understandable. It is about the trauma, friendship and adventures of a young child and is filled with childish fun and drama. One of the moments that still sticks out for me was when Luka had an intense argument with Rolo and he spent the next day staying in his bed. That was literally that part of the game. An angry, sad and emotionally exhausted Luka stays in his room. He would walk across the room, kick a ball, think about the fight, and sleep. This scene couldn’t be longer than a few minutes but it reminded me of my own childhood when I would fight with my friends or my sister and just lock myself in my room and sulk. The way the scene was able to convey that emotion and feeling with a simple element of interacting with a ball or the bed was masterful.

Beacon PinesThe story is not revolutionary. It’s a group of kids who get into mysterious and unlikely trouble. We have seen this in many works of fiction, stranger things is one of the newer and most popular. It’s not the story that makes this game shine, it’s how it’s told. Beacon Pines is a story of adventure of your choice that takes full advantage of the video game medium.

Luka and his friends on a snowy field.
We’ve seen so many endings that when we get to the happy ending it feels really deserved.

It took me about eight hours to finish Beacon Pines, and I was so delighted with the experience that I decided to wait a few days before writing the review. I thought the emotional ending was the main reason I found the game so perfect. But now, going through my notes and recorded footage, I can’t seem to find any flaw or flaw the game had. When it comes to a narrative adventure game, Beacon Pines has everything; Gorgeous graphics, amazing narration, an engaging story, fun and relatable characters, and an easy and smooth gameplay experience. A perfect experience from start to finish.

Nima played Beacon Pines on Steam with a code provided by the publisher.

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