Traverse the Scottish Highlands to reach your uncle in Inkle’s latest adventure, A Highland Song. Part platformer, part rhythm game, part survival, and all heart, this wholesome adventure is epic and should be a staple in the next Visit Scotland campaign.

Branding is important. Not that sheep mentality of wearing Nike Tech because everyone else does or smelling like Billie Eilish because, well, everyone else does. To me, brand loyalty comes from quality and expectations. When I think Inkle, I expect quality.

With A Highland Song, they once again deliver a thoroughly unique experience. As Moira, your goal is to reach your uncle’s lighthouse before the Gaelic festival, Beltane. There’s going to be a sense of urgency when given such a deadline, but this gust of excitement propels you forward with a child-like innocence.

I want to return to the word I used to describe this game: epic. It’s as overused as awesome, wholesome and lol, but it’s the right word to use here. It defines a journey of a grand scale, even arduous. Take both terms as positive and negative.

A Highland Song Switch Review - Bearings
Bearings. Source: PR

A Highland Song is a Scottish parkour where the protagonist must have a Special Forces background. She’s clearly ex-SAS how she sprints up a mountain, climbs through tunnels darker than in The Descent, and shrugs off extreme temperatures as if swatting a drunken fly.

The ease with which Moira moves is incredibly fluid and dreamy, like rotoscoping. This is the first time she’s taken the trip, and though there are soundbites from Hamish telling her all the folklore of the area, she has to search for clues and interpret landmarks after reaching a mountain’s peak.

Clues in A Highland Song are invisible to the naked eye until they’re an arm’s length away and will be a flashing orb. The objects she finds are tat – crisp wrappers, tins, or scrap metal, though they all serve a purpose. You just have to explore the terrain and experiment. 

The number of mountains to explore is vast, and it’s easy to get lost without a conventional map. Moira ascends rock faces, and locates hidden paths that shift her between landscape ‘layers’, desperately seeking the fastest route while juggling changes in temperature and the day/night cycle.

A Highland Song
Source: PR

It’s possible to push Moira to her limits, getting her as close to the goal as possible, only taking rest in fear of her collapsing. A health bar is present that will deplete through bashes, falls and weather exposure. Resting and sleeping during nightfall will replenish this, though taking time to rest will take you further away from reaching Belatine.

I was genuinely excited to play A Highland Song. The freedom of Moira covering some beautiful landscapes that have me reach for the ancestral books on my Scottish lineage, as convenient as others claiming their heritage whenever it suits, were inspirational. However, each day that came to a close was evoking some very real anxiety. Will I make it?

As I look from atop another picturesque peak whose name I don’t know, I realise I won’t get to the lighthouse in time. This made me quite sad, then frustrated, as I had wasted at least a day or two running in circles. As stated, it’s easy to get lost, and though it would be easy to say everywhere looks the same, that would be a lie. Crawling towards another cliff face, you immediately recognise its distinguishing features and think, “Shit. I’ve gone full circle”.

This sadness switched to frustration as A Highland Song is a storytelling masterclass. I was wholeheartedly engrossed to the point I was cheering Moira on, much to the amusement of my family. At one point, my wife told the kids I was having a breakdown. Thankfully, that frustration receded, and I accepted my tardiness and decided to explore more.

This game has so many treasures – from unlocking memories to learning about Gaelic traditions – it’s an eye-opener. Putting aside the parkour element, there’s plenty of exposition, plus a bonus rhythm feature where you sprint with a deer, hopping to the beats of some traditional folk music. It’s undoubtedly unique and entertaining.

When you do reach A Highland Song’s conclusion, it isn’t the end of your journey as there’s so much to discover, which can’t be achieved in one playthrough. From the voice acting and music to the multi-layered landscapes and associated movement covering the peaks, A Highland Song is another gem Inkle can be proud of. Beautiful storytelling, stunning presentation, and an aftertaste of happiness.