Beacon Pines – Can You Figure Out What Words To Use?

Beacon Pines is interactive fiction, but really it qualifies with a new level of cozy interaction and fathoms deep optimistic complexity to its characters. The basic structure of the story relies on an interesting plot device made of… well, plot devices! You start in a storybook tale of a young fawn, though I’d say that’s up for interpretation, named Luka at his grandmother’s. Through exploration and experimentation and interacting with those around you can acquire something known as charms. Charms help change the course of the story. You may need to go back and forth to test what works and what doesn’t, but with each charm, comes some new element that alters everything. Hold on to your BOOK straps, we’re going in.

This is another showcase part of The Indie Houses Event on Steam. Lots of new games there and through my community at Indie Game Collective. Another game I covered for this event was Kraken Academy on Tuesday.

Things Happening in Beacon Pines

When I first loaded this game up, my emotions went twisting around inside me with the stunning cottage core nature setting mixed with Luka’s very deeply personal interaction in a grove. It seemed like a picture that wouldn’t move yet swished beneath your shoes as you walked through the grass. Nothing is quite explained too thoroughly for quite a bit of time. You’ll certainly find that browsing around Gran and You’s cottage leads to interesting discoveries and necessary elements of the game. You’ll have to at least talk to Gran, so you can learn the purpose of the “charms” spread throughout this game.

I don’t really know what the charms are. I got charms with words like “chill” and “ponder.” Anyway, my first charm was “chill.” It didn’t seem to do much at all, or maybe it did, I don’t know. It takes time to wander through the small town of Beacon Pines though, and at this point, it’s the only way to test out each charm. I might be wrong though because apparently, you can move backward in intervals depending on what’s already happened. It’s kind of like a spellbook I guess you could say.

That is perfectly okay, as far as I’m concerned. The characters whom you are able to talk to around the town are really cool looking and have some great dialogue. Great game dialogue is a boon, and when games master it, it can enhance the rest of the game.

Features of Beacon Pines

Here is a list of features from the press kit:

  • Explore an illustrated mountain town to collect word charms
  • Use those words to alter the story
  • More words to make friends
  • And even more words to weave the fabric of fate itself
  • Open the magical book at any time to go back and change your decisions

What I Wonder

The last part of the game I played before making the final quantum leap home was the abandoned warehouse. This part of the game intrigued me more than any other. Why wouldn’t you have an abandoned warehouse with toxic sludge and people who shouldn’t be there as you sneak in with your friends? It’s mysterious, and a tad weird. It is totally part of canon practically in a boatload of visual novels, comics, TV, etc. Unfortunately, reader, I cannot share why exactly the warehouse is there.

As far as the mechanics, this concept is ready to go. The storyline feels like it’s going to take on some substantial developments down the road though. It does not step on any thematic toes for the majority of the story than anywhere else. I think the only game I might compare it to is Bastion, the classic predecessor to Hades. Mostly visually though.

I love what I saw in this demo, and for a low price of free, you should check it out.

Here is some gameplay footage if you want to see what transpired over the course of around half an hour up until its cliffhanger. It might give you a boost.

That’s It

That’s about it for my coverage on this one. No news is not bad news, as Tom Nook says. I think you’ll enjoy this cast of fuzzy creatures. And if you can wishlist it on Steam, even better! Link below.

Thanks so much for reading Mr. Dave Pizza. If you like what you read, please have a look around, and come back again! Thanks.

The Hayseed Knight – Lots of Animal People at the Bazaar

I’ve been getting really interested in games like The Hayseed Knight and I don’t really know why I haven’t explored them further. I reviewed a game last week called Brok: The Investigator, similar mostly in the ways of it is an anthropomorphic visual novel.

The Hayseed Knight is through and through an anthro/furry/whatever you want to call it, visual novel. The themes are probably around Teen+, only in the PG-13 range though. Nothing obscene in my gameplay. The maturity level is more thematic than graphic. This is not a dating sim, but there is quite a bit of flirting.

Animal Palace – The Hayseed Knight

Nearly every character is an andromorphic form, including a tree guy, but not exclusively.

I’m going to do my best not to spoil anything, but you can only say so much about a game that’s nearly entirely dialogue without revealing some nuggets from the plot. As this game is still a prototype though, but there’s certainly more to come.

In the beginning, a gazelle (I think) and a quiet witch begin the narration of the story. Not a lot of background, but this might have something to do with how the plot unravels later on. In my lengthy sit-down with the game, none of that was revealed, however, it sets the stage for some effective storytelling.

This is a pretty THICK demo to play. I went past the half-hour mark up to almost 50 minutes, which is rare for me in a single session, because I wanted to see what would happen. There was still a lot of gameplay left over at that point, but I felt I’d tapped into the heartbeat of the story and wanted to start writing.

Pass the Buck

This game takes place in what’s best described as an Arabian bazaar/village. There are idiosyncrasies and thematic overlaps, but that works totally fine because this is a fantasy game.

Ader the buck is your basic rural raised one-eyed stag from the country, protagonist and comic relief. He’s jumpy and blasting into a nervous confrontation with just about everybody in the game.

I enjoyed Ader’s character because he manages to say things just as inflammatory as they were polite and humble.

Screen
The Hayseed Knight

There are interactions with several characters in the game, some of which I enjoyed more than others, but I particularly liked Eina, a mute female wolf/dog who runs the shop Ader works in.

I also liked the green tree man that interacts with Aider and Eina when she was awesome. I guess he’s an ent maybe? He looked more like a moss man. Anyway, his presence is fairly brief but is inter in the way it shows the anthro spectrum throughout this game. Ein’s father/boss/guardian or whatever is a beardy clocked red dude, but not much revealed beyond that.

The Hayseed Knight

Visual Novels Are Really Cool

I love how much can be done with some illustration, voice work, and visual novel creation dev work. Visual novels are great. People who enjoy reading but struggle to plop down and grab some ink-splatted pulp might be able to handle a lot more with this kind of storytelling. It’s kind of like a leap from graphic novels. English 101, with visual novels? I don’t maybe not, how about an elective.

I have reviewed more games like this. They make me feel good and engage my gameplay. They’re also easier to write about. I swear, I opened a category on Itch.IO last night and unlocked the treasures of El Dorado. So, I’ll never be bored again. I’m good.

The steam link is below.

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