Mini Impressions: A Short Hike

A Short Hike is a recent indie title from developer adamgryu. In it, you take control of a young bird and decide to hike up to the summit of a mountain. Along the way, you meet many characters and can experience as much or as little of the rich world around you as you choose.

A Short Hike is the type of indie game I love. It has a real sense of art and self to it. It looks good, is fun to play, has a lot of hidden depth in what seems like a simple package, and allows the gamer to explore and choose what to do and what not.

There are specific goals you have to complete to get to the top of the mountain (you need a certain amount of an item), but how you get there is entirely up to you. By the end of the climb, you can bypass a large chunk of the game, if you so choose, but that would be a mistake. There are a lot of great characters that you meet that give you different tasks to do for them. Some of them are funny, some of them have a somewhat sad background; all of them are shockingly complex and developed for the brief period that you talk to them.

Once you get to the top, you are treated with a short but lovely and touching scene for your efforts and a little more understanding of the character you are playing and why they are in the area. Once again, for such a brief experience this moment really tugged at my heart for reasons I can’t exactly express.

I think that is the brilliance of A Short Hike. There is enough detail there that it feels complete and developed, but enough is left open that the gamer can project onto it and get their own experience.

The gameplay is decent although I highly recommend using a controller as the keyboard did not work for me. The art style is lovely and cute. The sounds are great. And even with it’s relatively short run time, I did not feel like it was lacking.

Again this is exactly what I love from indie games. An experience for each of the players to make their own but still has a sense of self. If you like shorter, cute, fun indie games, I would highly recommend this. It won’t strain your backlog but will give you enough to do to feel satisfied and is even worth revisiting.

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