A Short Hike not only delivers what the title itself promises, a small adventure but exceeds it on several levels. The fact that it manages to convey something that many titles can’t because they present side missions that don’t make sense, or simply because they’re not fun to explore, makes this title an enriching experience that will leave a smile on the player’s face.
This title puts Claire, a bird with a lot of energy, as the main character, who went to spend a few days with her aunt at the family’s country house, located near “Hawk Peak”. It is said that the view from the top of this mountain is magnificent, however, Claire’s desire is to have a signal on her cell phone to receive a super important call. On the way to the top, you can find a set of very amusing characters who tell their stories, deliver gifts or small requests for help. The charisma-filled interactions the characters present make this the heart of the entire adventure. Some characters are just enjoying the scenery and give a little context about the places about to be visited and some manage to convey something more to make themselves known better. It is amazing how with so little it is possible to delineate the personality traits of these very peculiar characters.
Gameplay is quite simple. During the exploration, it is possible to discover gold, objects, and gold feathers, in a kind of stamina bar, which allows Claire to have one more jump, run, or the ability to climb mountains for longer. It is also possible to glide to reach more distant points or to simply enjoy the view of the entire island.
All collectibles serve a purpose in a way. The pickaxe allows you to open paths and form a shortcut, the money serves as a bargaining chip to buy clothes and a simple stick will be used to play a mini-game together with other characters. It is also possible to fish and deliver the fish to a sea duck.
The entire blocky environment is visually appealing and it is not surprising to feel a mixture of small notes from Animal Crossing and Bugsnax. Although all characters are animals, there is a very human connection between the lines of speech.
The soundtrack fits like a glove, or like a hat, depending on the area in question, distinguishing between zones and giving greater emphasis to the sense of exploration. Even though you’re aiming to climb the top of Hawk Peak, it’s quite easy to take the back roads and find a different activity to complete.
Short Hike doesn’t show any kind of malice, quite the opposite. This title manages to convey the necessary calm in less good times. All your little notes convey a feeling of Home that leaves the door open to revisit whenever you want.
Because after all, it’s a Short Hike. 🙂
[This review is based on a retail build of the game for Playstation 5, provided by Popagenda