Beacon Pines Review (eShop Conversion)

Beacon Pines Review - Screenshot 1/3
Taken on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Unattached)

Playing Beacon Pines It feels like early winter nights, where you’re amazed by how quickly the darkness creeps in – but still comfortable and warm under a blanket.

Coming from indie developer Hiding Spot, the setting might look like your usual cute jungle town with anthropomorphic animals, but there’s a dark horror lurking underneath. Like its colorful story, Beacon Pines doesn’t just belong in one genre. The game is visual-novel-encounter-discovery, with glimmers of adventure of your choice.

It fits in well with Switch’s other cozy offerings. There are cute talking characters in warriors similar to yours Mule neighbors and even a little game that reminds us of Spiritfarerof fishing function. We say the game is like a novel because the story is really in a big book. Sprinkle a little spooky in, and you’ll keep turning the page…ahempress the buttons.

You play as Luka, a 12-year-old deer who has had to go through many times: the death of his father, the disappearance of his mother, and a new guardian in the form of the strange but kind Gran. Not to mention the takeover of the town by a consortium called Perennial Harvest Co. with an unsettlingly happy executive at its helm. It’s no surprise that Luka just wanted to enjoy the loot as a kid: hang out at his best friend Rolo’s treehouse, and be naughty. Trouble is, that mischief goes from hijinks to horror really quickly. It might have to do with something weird leaking from the abandoned factory, or the upcoming festival, but things aren’t quite right in Beacon Pines.

Beacon Pines Review - Screenshot 2/3
Taken on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Unattached)

The format is an ongoing story told through excellent voice acting, by an author who introduces herself, herself, as a character. She needs your help to figure out how to end it. You do this by choosing words to put in her sentences. The game calls these ‘Charms’ – cutely illustrated trinkets with a unique word on each. You find them as you interact with items and villagers. The Charms guide is trivial (‘We’ll go HIDE/CHILL/PONDER’ for the day’), but you’ll soon find that picking certain Charms over others leads to chills and thrills ‘The End’s. This is the dying version of Beacon Pines: dead end. When you reach one, the author gives some colorful commentary and encourages you to try again.

Make no mistake: this game does not repeat. You’ll go through a variety of endings, from suspenseful to funny to heartwarming, to the very end because, despite a lot of ‘The End’s, there’s a real ending and you’ll want to watch it. .

Exploring Charms is the primary form of exploration, and it’s fun to have a pop-up on the screen as a reward for your curiosity. You can also optionally use a literal story tree, whose branches grow as you progress. It’s called The Chronicle, and it helps you mark the Charms you’ve used.

The new enchantment will send you back to the Chronicle to reactivate the previous turning point. Try these out, and the game introduces you to secrets that you might not have discovered yet. You will find valuable little gems if you are the attentive type, which further expands a small world. All of this is accompanied by an incredibly sweet and mellow soundtrack, until it sublimes with dramatic flair. Music promotes emotions here, from warming your heart to exercising.

Beacon Pines Review - 3/3 . Screenshot
Taken on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Unattached)

Beacon Pines’ flaws are few and far between, and mostly a matter of taste. We feel the Chronicle needs more details on the outcome of our selection. At a glance, we could only tell which charms were used, not which ones led to our untimely demise. We also noticed a lack of player interaction, with pressing ‘A’ for a long time to progress the story. There’s also very little involved in solving puzzles – often the characters reveal the answer before you figure it out. Long paragraphs can also be a bit silly when you are reading small scripts in handheld mode.

Overall, the hand-to-hand gameplay and lengthy passages of text may deter fans of the action, but cozy players will be too caught up in the video player story to notice. This is a strong appearance by the small but talented team at Hiding Spot. Storytelling, layered characters, and an engaging storyline will have players snuggled up on their couches – but wrapped in a blanket.


Beacon Pines presents a rich world filled with characters that are considered poignant, not to mention lovable. Beautifully crafted artwork, combined with a soundtrack that both captivates and sets the mood, makes for a thoroughly enjoyable experience. It may not be for the action buffs, but it’s a lovely and engaging story as Luka, Rolo, and Beck delve into a series of unique situations. You can get it done in less than a business day, but it will stay with you much longer.


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