When you start playing Beacon Pines you will be greeted by the narrator of the story you are about to experience and write. But do not worry, you don’t need any elaborate writing skills – more on that later. I do recommend using a controller to play though, keyboard controls work perfectly fine but they are a bit clunky.
The narrator introduces us to the main character of the story, Luka, who is a (very cute) child ready to go on adventure and explore the mysteries of Beacon Pines. We learn that Luka’s father has passed away and that we are standing next to his grave. The moment of reminisce is interrupted by our friend, who wants to explore the secrets of the creepy warehouse in Beacon Pines with us. Since our main character is still a child, our first task is to let our grandmother know that we will be playing outside for the day.
The art style of Beacon Pines is beautiful and you quickly feel fully immersed in the world, although we can only see parts of each area, like a drawing in a book. The animations are smooth and the soundtrack is gorgeous (minus the speechbubble-sounds but they can be turned down), with soft sounds to get you in the mood for some relaxed exploring. I find myself feeling the excitement and joy that I felt as a child on a warm summer day, ready to spend the whole day outside, with a head full of ideas and stories to play with my friends.
During our first task, finding grandma, we already come across Charms while doing various activities like sitting down or relaxing outside. These Charms represent a single word and can later be used to alter the story that we are about to experience.
When you get to a point in the story where you can use a Charm, the camera will zoom out and you can see the current situation you are encountering as a drawing on the left and the story in written form on the right. Here your skills as an author play a role – simply replace the shining word with one of the words from the Charms you found and you change the way the story will proceed. All of your choices will be represented in a tree and you can always go back to a Turning Point when you found more suitable Charms or changed your mind about the word you used.
Our First Hour comes to an end when Luka and his buddy reach the warehouse they want to explore. The game becomes noticably more creepy at this point, the visuals are much darker and the music changes its tune as well. I am excited to keep playing and figure out what happens in that warehouse, what role all the interesting characters we met on the way play and if Luka can reconnect with his parents.
TLDR: + beautiful artworks and atmospheric music + very nice storyteller voice + smooth animations and very quick loading times + appealing story with a nice mix of creepy and cute elements
– clunky keyboard and mouse controls – the sound effect of the speechbubbles in dialogues is distracting but can be turned down
Interested in buying Beacon Pines and playing yourself? Buy the game here:
• Steam • HumbleBundle * (Steam version) • Epic Games (if you want to support the creation of content on this website, please use the support-a-creator-code IMAFLANKER at checkout – with no extra cost to you!)
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