At this year’s LudoNarraCon, I got to try out a demo for Beacon Pines. Fortunately, I am happy to announce that not only did I absolutely love it, but that I cannot wait for its full release.
Beacon Pines is a delightfully charming title with a lot of wit, character and laughs to be had. Its dialogue is hilarious, its visual style is reminiscent of a lavish fairytale come to life, and its gameplay offers an immensely complex set of options for the player to explore.
“It has a genuinely enthralling narrative that I’m excited to explore more of in the full release.”
Beacon Pines is a beautiful game. From its stunningly detailed locations to its adorable character designs and melodic soundtrack. It is an absolute pleasure to explore each one of Beacon Pines’ handcrafted areas. I found myself fully immersed in its mysterious atmosphere. The juxtaposition between the fantastically fairy-tale and the hauntingly ominous is handled perfectly, and it never felt at odds with each other.
The demo offers only a brief glimpse at its multi-layered narrative, but what is on offer is attention-grabbingly enticing. The characters we meet are a well-written multifaceted cast who offer plenty of laughs and heart-tugging emotional scenes. There are some genuinely notable moments and scenes that will become infinitely quotable. I don’t remember the last time I felt simultaneously on the edge of my seat in both fear and ready to burst at the seams with laughter.
Outside of the outstanding dialogue, Beacon Pines has a genuinely enthralling narrative. It’s told through a refreshingly self-aware narrator and the loveable interactions between the various characters you’ll meet. There are all the trappings of a Stand By Me type adventure, yet its setting and style make it feel entirely distinct. The game never veers too closely towards horror, always ensuring to keep the tone light. However, a deeply unsettling feeling permeates throughout, and that is what keeps the narrative intriguing.
“Beacon Pines is one of the most eye-catching indie games I’ve ever played”
Beacon Pines sticks heavily to being a more narrative-focused game, and as such, there isn’t a whole heap of things to do aside from exploring and engaging with the story. However, by collecting various charms across the game, you can directly affect how the narrative progresses.
One such instance early on in the demo has you encounter your friend’s sister, who berates him for having not completed his chores. You get the option to directly affect how the story progresses from that point, but utilising the charms, you’ve collected thus far. However, you only have one charm at this point in the story. So, you’re stuck with a negative outcome as a result. Fortunately, by using a charm you collect later, you can redo the encounter and change the course of the story. It’s a unique mechanic that is reminiscent of the “choose your own adventure” novels of yesteryear, which perfectly fits its fairy-tale aesthetic.
Beacon Pines is a hard game to fault. This is truly one of the most eye-catching indie games I’ve ever played. Furthermore, its unique narrative mechanic means it is exceptionally engaging to play. I cannot wait for the full release to explore more of what Beacon Pines has to offer.
Be sure to head on over to Beacon Pines’ Steam store page to try the demo out for yourself. You can also wishlist it on Steam to be notified of any future updates.