A Short Hike | Nintendo Switch Review
Have you ever come across a game which simply makes your heart burst with pure joy? I think this only ever happened to me twice in my life – playing The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, my all-time favourite game, and when I first experienced a beautifully made indie game called A Short Hike. A Short Hike, which was developed and published by Adam Robinson-Yu, was released in 2019 on Windows, Mac, and Linux systems before its release on the Nintendo Switch in 2020. It is a free-roaming, open-world game set in the Hawk Peak Provincial Park. It is games such as A Short Hike which make me so grateful that I was gifted a Nintendo Switch Lite over a year ago.
So, what is the story all about? You are Claire, a young bird away to visit your Aunt May, who is a ranger at the Hawk Peak Provincial Park. Once Claire arrives in the park, her aunt informs her that there is no mobile phone reception in the park and to make and receive calls, Claire will need to climb to the top of Hawk Peak – which is notoriously difficult to climb. Claire is anxious as she is expecting a very important phone call. Your primary mission is to make your way up to the top of Hawk Peak, but you will quickly realise that you require some golden feathers to help you climb to this peak. Alongside this main quest, there are also plenty of side quests where you can earn coins, golden feathers, and other items.
In the early stages of the game, you will meet some residents of the park with whom Claire can interact. These characters will teach Claire various skills such as climbing and fishing, and at this point you will discover what controls are needed to jump and glide. Golden feathers are the most important asset, as you will be unable to climb to Hawk Peak without them. You can locate coins all throughout the island either in chests, by digging, or just strewn around. These coins than then in turn be used to purchase golden feathers and other items.
Interactions with other residents also introduce you to side quests, as well as some humorous conversations. You will discover a character with a interest in sandcastle building, but also wants to get into politics. You can get a chance to learn a new game called Beachstickball, which is a lot of fun. You can take part in races with another resident, while a visit to the Orange Islands nearby allows you to go on an amusing boat ride which turns into a Grand Theft Auto-style mission very quickly.
The most enjoyable feature about this game is just how relaxing it is. You are free to roam as you please and just gently glide from area to area. The game’s soundtrack created by Mark Sparling also helps to create a relaxed, retreat-like atmosphere. The music from this game is also featured on Spotify, so you can listen to the soundtrack no matter where you are. Visually, the game is also beautiful with a range of various colours. The scene on top of Hawk Peak is also spectacular. I found this game the perfect distraction from my everyday life. My only problem with this game? It is simply too short. While you can fly around as many times as you wish and try to complete all the side missions, I was very upset when I completed everything. I just did not want this gorgeous game to end.
I really cannot fault anything in this game, with maybe the exception of the length of the game and would strongly recommend picking up A Short Hike for the Switch. I really hope that there will be a DLC or a sequel to this game in the future.
Tina’s rating: 5 Golden Feathers out of 5.
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