It’s not uncommon for Indie games to fly under my radar. During the week I saw a video about A Short Hike, a very chill exploration game. A Short Hike was released in 2019 on PC and Mac, Switch in 2020 and November 2021 for PS4 and Xbox One. So better late than never?
There is a very basic story. You play as Claire, a young bird staying with their aunt. Aunt May is a ranger at Hawk Peak Provincial Park, and you are staying there.
On your first morning, it is revealed that you are waiting on a phone call, but there is no reception. Aunt May suggests you try the top of Hawk Peak to get reception. Travelling to the peak is not only a short hike (see what they did?) but a family tradition.
So Claire sets off to climb the peak.
During the day, you meet various people and discover different things. Gameplay-wise, these are A Short Hike’s versions of side quests. Story-wise, they fall effortlessly into things a child exploring would do.
There are no time limits to curb your exploration. No combat to worry about, and only very basic platforming. A Short Hike is definitely a game to sit and enjoy for an afternoon.
Even taking it easy, you will most likely reach Hawk Peak within two hours. Returning to Aunt May ends the day with a nap, but you can reload to continue to explore. For the main story, there is nothing new to discover, but Hawk Peak park is large and fun to explore.
In many ways, A Short Hike is a condensed chill experience akin to Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The pixel art style may not be for everyone but adds to the charm. I didn’t realise you could ‘smooth’ the style until after finishing the game. This may appeal to people that are anti-pixel style art.
For around AU$10 depending on the platform, A Short Hike is a no brainer choice for a relaxing way to spend time. It has a bit of everything for most people, barring combat and precision platforming.
For me, it was a cute experience that allowed me to explore and chill after a long week. Playing on PlayStation, there are trophies that I am considering completing. It could be A Short Hike is my first Platinum of 2022!