Today is another little Indie Watch for Seriously Average Gamers and this one is for A Short Hike. I tell you, unlike Zack I’ve never played a lot of indie games but 2020 changed that. I sure played a bunch and this is one of the best.
A Short Hike is a cute little indie title by Adamgryu. It is currently on PC and Nintendo Switch, the Switch being where I played the game myself. Just as a side note, Adamgryu is also working on another game currently. It is, I believe, a currently untitled rpg. It’s in a paper style and it looks cute as hell, check out the site here.
Without any further ado, let’s get right into this new Indie Watch.
What’s the message?
A Short Hike follows Claire, a bird person, who has decided to take a break. She goes to Hawk Peak, where her aunt May is a ranger. It’s suggested that she tries to make her way to the peak of the mountain as it has a great view.
That’s basically the whole plot honestly, there’s not a lot of on the surface substance. There doesn’t need to be though, the actual journey is the important part, what’s so good about A Short Hike is the payoff.
One very positive inclusion are all the other ramblers as you make your way up the mountain, that give you tasks to complete to keep you busy on your trek. They don’t play a big story role, however they do expand the world a lot.
You do a lot of walking. That’s most of the game. It’s also a complete Breath of the Wild clone, I mean you have stamina and can climb. So not at all original, stole it all from Zelda…
No but for real, there’s a few things going in in A Short Hike. Firstly there’s the traversal. You can walk, run, climb, flap higher, and glide. Most of these actions require stamina, which is measured in feathers. As you do them, the feathers disappear until you have to stop to recharge them.
This is the key to getting up the mountain, you’ll have to get enough feathers to climb a cliff wall or fly over to a ledge. It’s a simple but very effective way to keep track of progress.
You can get new feathers a few ways, some you just find, other’s you get by interacting with others. For example, going through a series of trades until the last person trades you for a feather. Or doing some hardcore parkour. There’s plenty of variety and the feather rewards are fantastic incentives.
Then there’s a bunch of stuff to pick up, like a groovy new hat or a fishing rod. The fishing rod is especially great as there are a lot of fishes to catch. The fishing mini game is actually pretty good, simple and easy, just the way I like it. You can sell all the fish and work on getting the golden rod. Again, a simple but effective reward.
What do I like so much?
The art style is a really big win for me, it is absolutely stunning. It’s both pixelated beauty and totally soulful at the same time. It’s almost indescribable, so just look at the shots included, please just stare at them all.
Then there’s the surprisingly well adjusted gameplay for a game that actually has very little to do, I mean all you’re doing is walking up a hill. As you are a bird person, you do a lot of flying or gliding. It feels really good and airy, which is thoroughly enjoyable the whole time.
The soundtrack is also incredible.It’s mostly soft and slightly upbeat acoustic guitars and the like. It’s gentle and soothing, which given the overall laid back nature of the game is perfect.
All of the little side activities are fantastic honestly. Nothing is too hard or taxing, so you’re never burnt out. It’s all pretty unique from each other and it’s all pretty short. Along with the feathers being a regular reward for everything, it’s honestly a perfect system. It’s a ‘you must complete some side stuff to finish the game’. Seeing as that’s my playstyle with any game, it really is a perfect fit for me.
I honestly have zero complaints. Not even a caveat to this either. Like, nothing. NOTHING. It is a literal perfect afternoon distraction.
What does it all mean?
This is an absolute gem, there is no other way to describe it. Playing A Short Hike was one of the most enjoyable single afternoons I’ve had. I couldn’t put it down and I really didn’t want to. From start to finish, the whole experience, every single second, was astounding.
I never really knew that I could enjoy something so simple and quiet this much. I also played it on the Switch, so I was even able to play it whilst laying on the sofa. So I was also incredibly comfortable whilst listening to gentle melodies and rambling up the mountain.
I’m sure it’s good on PC but if you have a Switch, get this game. There is probably no indie game that I would recommend more at this point. PLAY THIS GODDAMN GAME. Please.
A Short Hike – Indie Watch.
Written by Kyle Munn