LifeisXbox’s Beacon Pines review | It is finally here: Beacon Pines! Personally, I’ve had my eye on this little gem for a while, and I’m so happy release day is finally upon us. If you don’t know the game I’m talking about, allow me to introduce you. Beacon Pines is a cute adventure game with a creepy twist. Developed by Hiding Spot and published by Fellow Traveller, Beacon Pines started as a Kickstarter campaign that quickly became a game to look forward to for many gamers. If you are on TikTok, you may have seen it in one of those ‘Cozy games I look forward to’. With its appealing concept and art style, Beacon Pines shows great promise. Actually, our preview for the game last year was filled with positive experiences and expectations. Now, it’s finally time to review the full game and see if the game is worth the hype.
ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox Series X | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion of the writer.
What we Liked!
- Spoopy story | In case you don’t know the term spoopy, it means spooky and creepy but in a cute and funny way. So spoopy really is the perfect term to describe Beacon Pines. Described as Winnie the Pooh meets Twin Peaks, Beacon Pines tries to combine the most adorable characters and setting with a mysterious story. Perfect now that fall (and Halloween!!!) are close. Unfortunately, the town of Beacon Pines is not all it used to be. And now it seems that something mysterious is happening and no one is taking notice! Well, except our little Luka and his friends. The old, abandoned warehouse is showing signs of life so something must definitely be going on there! Luka and his friends try to uncover the truth, for better or worse! You get sucked into this story so quickly, it’s amazing. Before you know it, the cuteness is overtaken by mystery and weirdness. You’ll also be exposed to a wide array of emotions throughout your journey. Some really hit me in the feels, so fair warning if you’re also a sensitive soul.
- Charming art style | Beacon Pines is one of those games that’s going to suck you in with its ridiculously adorable art style, that’s for sure. I know it’s what drew me to this game in the first place! The entire game looks like it came straight out of a (fairytale) children’s book: bright colors, drawn locations, and of course an actual storybook! Using animal-like characters is already a big win, and dressing them up with cute little sweaters, dresses and overalls makes them even more charming. I especially enjoyed looking at the details of the characters when they engaged in conversations. Now, the scenes are just as delightful to witness as the characters. From the second I entered the game, I knew I wanted to go explore the different areas and see what they looked like.
- The narrator | The story of Beacon Pines is being told by a narrator and it’s simply the best thing ever! Conversations between characters aren’t voice-acted, but when there is some narrating happening, we can hear a woman tell the story with a lot of intonation. This narration combined with the great writing really won me over even more. I don’t even know how to properly explain it. I honestly feel like it’s something you need to hear for yourself!
- The Chronicle | Beacon Pines is basically a trial-and-error kind of game. And when I mean error I mean people die. So much for being a cute game, am I right?! Well, you are promised creepy vibes as well so… I guess… Anyway, let me explain the whole trial and error thing! A story can have many different endings, and the story of what’s going on in Beacon Pines isn’t any different. In this game, you are literally exploring different paths and endings for stories, how cool is that! You’ll be seeing a lot of ‘The End’, meaning you’ll have to retrace your steps by using something called the Chronicle. This is basically an interactive story tree that branches and grows along with the choices you as a player make. This Chronicle tree has purple flowers on it, and each flower represents a Turning Point. A Turning Point is simply a point at which you have to choose a certain path to follow. You can ‘gather’ different paths by collecting charms. Each charm has a word engraved in it, and this word can then be used to fill in a sentence of the story. For example, you’re running into some enemies and the charms you have available are ‘fight’ and ‘flight’. You can try out one and see where that leads. If that happens to lead to an early ending, you go back to said Turning Point and choose the other charm. By taking different paths, you unlock more charms, creating even more storylines. It sounds like things might get confusing as you’re reliving a story in multiple ways, but it was actually quite exciting to see different stories and outcomes by changing just one word in the story.
- A fitting soundtrack | Not only is the narrator pretty damn cool, but so is the accompanying soundtrack. I feel like the use of the piano was absolutely perfect for Beacon Pines. The soundtrack was upbeat and happy when nothing much was going on. But when mystery or action were the main themes, the music changed accordingly. Sad moments were given even more emotion by providing the right music as well. I loved one tune specifically when Luka and his friend Beck screamed into a storm and it was a truly charming moment that had just the right music playing alongside it: a small heroic moment with slamming guitars!
- Lovely cast of characters | I feel like it’s already showing through my enthusiasm but the different characters in Beacon Pines are just an absolute joy to get to know. We start with Luka, who is clearly struggling and you really start caring about him from the get-go. Then there’s his best friend Rolo who’s just a bundle of energy, and of course, we have Beck, one of my absolute favorite characters in Beacon Pines. And that’s just the start; there’s a whole (small) town of people to meet, each with their own personalities and quirks. Not only are these characters lovely, but so are their relationships. Seeing them develop and grow was something I was expecting to a certain extend but ended up enjoying a lot more than I thought I initially would.
- Dialogue doesn’t match drawing | At times, there were things being said in conversations that didn’t really match with the way the characters looked. For example, if you say someone is covered in green goo and then you see an image of that character but only a few drops of the goo, it feels like I’m not getting the entire picture. Or when someone has an extreme facial expression (which you know from the dialogue), and it’s not reflected in the art, I felt a slight hint of disappoint. Either way, it’s just something minor that caught my attention and was in no way game-breaking.
What we Disliked
- Nope, I got nothing, there is just so much to love!
How long to beat the story | 6 to 7 hours
How long to achieve 1000G | TBD
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Head of PC team. PC, Switch, and Xbox game reviewer. Also a marketeer, concert and animal lover, and photographer in training 🙂