Riding high on a wave of great puzzlers, the Switch eShop delivers again with the very clever Bonfire Peaks in all its box-burning glory.
At its core, Bonfire Peaks is rather simple as all you're tasked to do is burn a box full of junk in a fire. However, being able to do so is a lot trickier than it seems. You basically move your character on the grid-based stages and you have the ability to lift and drop boxes. Each stage may have multiple boxes that you can use to create bridges and steps yet only 1 particular box must be burned in order to complete the level. The campaign starts off with you learning tricks like how to walk backwards up steps while carrying things, push blocks while rotating into them, and carry stacks of blocks but over time, things become much more complex and challenging.
Before diving deeper into the gameplay, let me just say that Bonfire Peaks looks fantastic with a very unique presentation. Not only are the visuals stylish and filled with textured voxels, there's an unconventional grain over everything that makes the graphics really pop. Plus, when it rains or snows, it makes the environment come to life. Meanwhile, I enjoyed the drony ambient soundtrack which actually made me reflect about the premise of the game. Why am I burning my things? Who is this guy? How much junk does he own?
Between solving stages, you'll traverse an overworld by using blocks that unlock after completing levels. Sometimes, you'll need a few blocks to reach the next group of puzzles but other times, only 1 is required. Either way, you're granted a lot of freedom so you really don't have to complete that many stages in order to forge ahead in your adventure while discovering new puzzle mechanics along the way. On a broader note, I'm very happy that the overworld itself is a giant puzzle to piece together; that is downright ingenious.
Speaking of new mechanics, Bonfire Peaks gradually introduces a multitude of fresh ideas as you reach new batches of levels. For example, there are blocks that crumble after you step off of them and other ones that are larger than the standard size. Plus, there's a whole new element introduced when you come across flowing water which you can send boxes to travel along. Each one of these mechanics is explored at many different angles which will thoroughly test your puzzle-solving abilities and considering there are hundreds of puzzles to solve, you're in for one challenging and expansive campaign that'll take hours upon hours to fully complete.
Of course, Bonfire Peaks has its fair share of frustrating stages; many of which made me think that they're unsolvable but I don't doubt that they actually are. Whenever I came across moments like these, it made me wish that there was a hint system because just a simple push probably would have went a long way to solving these exceptionally tricky parts. My only other complaint is that it feels like Bonfire Peaks would have benefited from some sort of collectibles or challenges such as level stats in order to increase its replay value.
After enjoying it for hours, Bonfire Peaks is easily one of my favourite practical puzzle games of all time. From its distinctly presented world to its unconventional premise and its wealth of tricky puzzles to its variety of mechanics; it has everything you'd want from the genre.
- + Exceptionally clever puzzle gameplay with many mind-bending mechanics throughout
- + Awesome puzzle-oriented overworld
- + Unique presentation / lots of stages
- - Could use some sort of hint system, especially as puzzles become more complex
- - I wish there were collectibles and challenges