GamingReview: Bonfire Peaks

Review: Bonfire Peaks

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Bonfire Peaks is a brainaching puzzle game in which the player must complete one simple task. Burn your belongings. But this task isn’t an easy one. With a multitude of different practical puzzles across the map, Bonfire Peaks presents unexpected challenges. From learning to run upstairs backwards to balancing three boxes on top of one another, these puzzles will leave you wanting more. 

BURN IT ALL!

The controls of the game feel odd at first. Running backwards up stairs because your box doesn’t fit any other way feels unnatural. But after completing the first few test puzzles, you begin to get the hang of it. There isn’t a tutorial which explains the controls to a player. Like I said, there are a few test puzzles which basically teach you all you need to know. Even far into the game you learn something new, like nudging a box through a gap to pick it up the other side. On multiple occasions I found myself staring at the same puzzle for about 10 minutes before realising the solution was simple. 

If you are like me and make frequent errors in games like this, Bonfire Peaks has your back. Rather than accidentally sliding all the boxes into the water and having to begrudgingly start the puzzle from the beginning and lose track of all your moves – there is an undo button. I also really enjoyed using this to retrace my steps on puzzles I had to step away from. Which was more often than not. Honestly – I don’t get frustrated easily at games but this one was a whole new level of stress. For those which just get the better of you, you can reset the whole puzzle with one button too. It’s just a really handy mechanic rather than having to sift through a menu and select restart and feeling like all progress is lost. 

Melancholic madness

Bonfire Peaks is a visually stunning game. It feels gritty and cold, and the whole experience is melancholic. There is such an emphasis on the bright flame of fire compared to the dull surroundings of our main character. I honestly think this game is beautiful. Accompanied with a slow, thoughtful soundtrack, this title just leaves us questioning it all. Who is this character? Why are we burning all of his things? But unlucky for us we will never know. These questions are never answered. We simply get given a task and continue to do it with no questions asked. 

I absolutely adored the unsolved mystery of Bonfire Peaks. Unlike other puzzle games, there isn’t a narrated story, which is one of the main elements which keeps it so compelling. There’s just something so ominous. Maybe it’s all the dark shadows that are cast across the map. Or maybe it’s because we never really understand, we just do what we are meant to. I can’t help but keep thinking about it – which is something I rarely experience once a puzzle game is finished. 

Final thoughts

With such a simple premise, I didn’t expect to love Bonfire Peaks as much as I do. It’s depressing nature and no explanation kept me transfixed for hours. With the nights getting longer and the rain coming in, it’s the perfect autumnal pastime as well.

SUMMARY

Bonfire Peaks is a puzzle game about closure, by Corey Martin and published as well as co-produced by Draknek, creator of A Monster's Expedition and Cosmic Express. Navigate over 200 expertly designed puzzles in a breathtakingly lovely voxel-based world.

+ Beautiful soundtrack
+ Fantastic premise
- Lags occasionally when moving
- Extremely sensitive to movement

This game was reviewed on Nintendo Switch but is also available on Steam, PS4 and Xbox.
Kara Phillips
Hi I'm Kara and I am forever spending my days diving into realities far from my own.

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