Bonfire Peaks Wants You To Burn (Your Belongings)

Quick, get rid of the evidence and burn it! Whatever it is, throwing a box on a fire is much harder than it looks in voxel puzzler Bonfire Peaks on the Switch.

We all have our baggage, and some tend to carry it around with them. In Bonfire Peaks, our protagonist is of the latter, but he’s proactive: he’s ready to burn it all and move on.

So it’s literal baggage then? Kinda. Your mission is to traverse a series of obstacle courses to reach a burning spire to chuck your belongings on. Yes, they deserve to burn! And I hope they burn in hell!

What could be inside? Bad music compilations? Love letters from a teen romance? Fireworks? Porn? Who knows. It’s not important, and it’s your job, if you want it, to fill in the blanks as this nameless character isn’t one for chatting or expressing anything. The more imaginative, the better.

Bonfire Peaks Review

But it’s really not that important with regards to the motivation in Bonfire Peaks as you’ll be preoccupied with solving the puzzles. You’ll pick up your crate of wonders and transport it to the burning flames, embracing the blocks that are presented before by floating over them like a beautiful butterfly. That’s a lie, more like a rhino, as this can be tough.

Bonfire Peaks - Burn it, burn it all
Burn it, burn it all. Source: Steam

Movement is four-directional (sorry, diagonal fans), and your character will frequently have to walk backwards, arms stretched out as a voxel R.O.B. It’s this movement where the challenge power punches its way into the gameplay. At a glance, it’s clear what you need to do; it’s how that’ll be the problem.

I found the movement in Bonfire Peaks to resemble reversing in Euro Truck Simulator 2 (a game I recently picked up and have been binging on). It requires skill or some unconscious capability where your motor skills will do the work while your grey matter fills in the gaps and plans ahead with a solution. Only… these controls don’t feel natural.

Install Some Rubber Walls

My version of Bonfire Peaks was on the Nintendo Switch, and like Draknek and Friends other title, A Monster’s Expedition – one of the best puzzle games on the Switch – it’s perfectly suited for on the go, or in my case, when winding down in the evening.

A review code was forthcoming, and I was lucky enough to have this for a bit of time. Is that lucky because it’s a massive game? No. It’s because I would play intermittently as the animation and directional control was rubbing me up the wrong way. I liked the concept, but it was getting close to a few rage quits.

Let me stress that Bonfire Peaks isn’t a rage game per se, but early days was a Marmite affair – in short, love/hate. Matey would pivot at the hips, and then BOOM! he’s hit a post and can’t turn any further, so you have to do a pseudo rotation to face the right way, thus solve the puzzle. Or you attempt to ascend a block to realise you need to place other blocks to reach those heights, but doing it can be infuriating.

Picker/Packer

Bonfire Peaks is your firestarter
Source: Steam

But note that there are no real threats in the game either. You can go at a leisurely pace, and there’s even an undo button which you’ll both abuse and foolishly press when on the tip of solving the issue. By that time, you may just have fallen in love with Bonfire Peaks.

As stated, it’s a blocky obstacle course that will alternate in complexities as you progress with booby (heh – booby) traps and crumbling paths, ingeniously using the blocks – and belongings before you burn them. There’s a lot of trial and error here, and once you’ve gotten the hang of it, it’s a fun game but not always so straightforward. You need the challenge in a puzzle game, though.

Vox Pops

Voxel graphics can be pretty divisive. On the one hand, it has that cute, minimalist factor, and other times it can look quite… cheap. Solo developer Corey, who writes the Bonfire Peaks theme tune, sings it, and everything else related, does a fantastic job throughout.

I’m on the fence with voxel, just enough not to injure my cheeks. With games like A Painter’s Tale, the scenery was gorgeous, but I wasn’t a fan of the faces and would rather it have been a blank slate. The Touryst got this perfect, and it’s so vibrant that the colours truly pop out of the screen. This is much more subdued than the latter and doesn’t have the same intensity, but boy, is it beautiful.

Bonfire Peaks Switch Review - Adventurous removals
Adventurous removals. Source: PR

The protagonist, who I’ll randomly call Colin for this last bit, can convey just what is needed for his role. He neither grins with lust as another object burns to a crisp, nor does he mope about either. There’s something enigmatic about him that engages you just enough without overthinking it. You’ll still thinking he’s burning porn, aren’t you?

Let’s conclude Colin’s adventure. Bonfire Peaks is an excellent puzzle game that is quite immersive in small doses at first, then when you’ve built up an immunity, gorge. The presentation, including the score, is brilliant, but it did take some getting used to the gorky walking and clumsy feeling truck-like manoeuvres (I think that’s just me). It could do with some hints, but you’ve got an undo button to hand, so quit your whining and burn some stuff. Whatever it may be…