I have had this game on my radar for over a year since it was released on the Nintendo Switch. So when I saw that a port of it was coming to Xbox I jumped at a chance to play it. A Short Hike launched on Xbox consoles on 16th November 2021 and was developed by Adam Robinson-Yu on a break from working on his other game Untitled Paper RPG.
The main “story” of the game is that the main character, Claire is on holiday in the mountains at which her aunt is one of the local rangers. She is waiting for an important phone call only to be told there is no reception and if she wants to get signal, she will have to take a “short hike” to the summit of the tallest peak on the island. How you get to the peak is entirely upto you! The game allows you to explore the island freely and follow whichever paths you wish in any order. While the main story of the game can be cleared in around an hour or so if you just want to make your way up the mountain following the main routes provided, there is a whole host of interesting things to experience if you stray from the beaten path and look around!
The island is full of residents and like-minded vacationers who not only offer quirky conversations but also ask the protagonist for help with a variety of optional tasks. Looking for a runners lost, lucky headband, joining a climbing club and looking for lost family members all give you more reasons to explore the island more as you slowly scale up the mountain.
Looking around the island will also uncover a variety of collectables/coins/feathers with the latter being used to improve your skills of climbing and gliding (which are needed to reach hidden areas). You can also obtain a fishing rod and just take your time fishing, akin to Animal Crossing!
What originally drew me to the game when I first saw the trailer was the visual style that it uses. It gives me vibes of a DS Animal Crossing if it was running on an original Playstation console. This presentation adds tons of charm to an already enthralling game, it gives it its own unique look which makes it stand apart from other similar games of the genre.
I absolutely adore this game, from its beautiful art style and environments to the charming soundtrack by Mark Sparling that progresses dynamically as you explore, to the interactions with the other hikers and inhabitants full of witty dialogue and dry humour. It’s such a breath of fresh air to play a game that lets you get lost in the experience of just enjoying yourself and your surroundings in a single sitting. I highly recommend you try this game for yourselves as it is something you need to experience for yourself, and I don’t think a written review would ever do it enough justice. I cannot wait to see what the developer does next; trust me I will be keeping my eyes peeled for their next project!
A Short Hike is now available for Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S for £6.69.
The game is Xbox One X enhanced with 4k resolution.
You can buy the game HERE
A copy of the game was provided for this review.