It can be hard to find time to finish a video game, especially if you only have a few hours to play a week. In our biweekly column Short game we recommend video games that can be started and ended in a weekend.
Claire is on a camping holiday with her aunt May, but she is also waiting for an important phone call. Unfortunately, the only reception in the park is at the top of the gigantic mountain of the island. Claire & # 39; s trek up the mountain is the core of the game A short walkand how you bring her to the top is fairly open. YOU could go straight up the path to the top of the mountain – but then you miss the point of the game.
A short walk feels like what you would get if you turned around Animal crossing in an adventure game such as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Yes, it is an experience full of nice cartoon animal people, but more importantly A short walk has a similar sensitivity to those two Nintendo games. Like both, the goal of the game is less important than how you spend your time getting it. And so your journey ends on a mountain full of much smaller tasks, such as in Animal crossing, are nice and relaxing.
You can spend time collecting shells, searching for buried treasures, fishing or helping other visitors to the park find lost items. While these serve as a relaxing distraction, the rewards of doing them also help you climb the mountain. At the start of her journey, Claire can only jump, slide and climb walls or cliffs until she becomes too tired and lets go. But by completing these ancillary activities, you usually get a kind of tool that allows you to perform more actions, such as running by getting running shoes or digging by getting a kick.
But above all, you try to collect golden feathers. These springs act as Link & # 39; s stamina bar in Breath of the Wild: the more you have, the more you can climb before you get tired. Besides, unlike Link & # 39; s endurance rod, each spring also gives you an extra jump (which, because Claire is a bird, is more of a flap than a jump). Each valve consumes part of your climbing endurance, while not offering as much height as you could have gained just by climbing.
The climb on the mountain is about balancing. You need to determine how much you jump before you start climbing, to maximize your endurance. Although this is really only a concern if you try to get up the mountain as quickly as possible. If you spend your time exploring the park and participating in all the different activities available, you will get more than enough gold dads to make those later sections a lot easier.
And you will want to spend time exploring because the mountain is much larger than you would expect. It is a place full of interesting environments and ruins, as well as quirky and clever characters that you cannot help but want to hang out or help. In fact, writing is perhaps the best thing about the game. There is very little of it, but each character feels different from the next, and charming in their own way (even the child you ask too much for feathers). And when you finally reach the top of the mountain, it is an emotional repression that validates and contextualizes both the path you have taken to reach it.
Fortunately it is not reaching the end. Instead, it essentially makes you free to explore the park without an explicit purpose. Maybe you want to catch all the different fish, win the foot race, or just stand by the beach and watch the waves. It is a perfect structure, because even if the game had ended at the top of the mountain, I would have found it quite difficult not to start a new game, just to wander through the park.