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    Bonfire Peaks review

    Need to know

    What is it? A sokoban puzzler where you burn crates of your belongings in a voxel-styled forest ascent.
    Expect to pay $20/£15.49
    Developer: Corey Martin
    Publisher: Draknek & Friends
    Reviewed on: Windows 10, Intel Core i5-8300H, 8GB RAM, GeForce GTX 1050
    Multiplayer? No
    Link: Official site (opens in new tab)

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    As I sit in the snow at the peak of Bonfire Peaks, I contemplate reaching the final part of my journey: failing to complete the game. I’ve been on a beautiful tour of puzzles so tricky that I, too, wanted to pack it all up and move to the woods, but it ends here. Whatever closure the main character is looking for by burning all his belongings, he won’t quite make it, and neither will I.

    The setup is simple. Our unnamed protagonist has left for the woods to burn his possessions, and it’s your job to push, drop or slide his crates full of stuff into a fire. In this block-y, voxel world, you can only move forward, backwards, or pivot on the spot. A crate (or any block) you’re holding will swing round as you turn too, so space is key. Early puzzles set the stage simply on how to navigate your way through, each using precisely as much space as it needs to.

    As Bonfire Peaks progresses, it introduces new elements—longer bricks, conveyor-belt like streams, and Indiana Jones-esque pressure traps among them. Unlike the smooth onboarding at the start of the game, the introduction of these more complicated puzzle elements can feel disruptive.

    (Image credit: Draknek)

    This consideration backfired for me, however. I increasingly found that as I progressed through the forest that there was obviously something I didn’t get, some foundational part of the puzzle’s logic. There were zones where I set a significant number of puzzles aside because I couldn’t see ways to even experiment, let alone divine a solution.

    There were hints of this earlier on in the game, where one puzzle wouldn’t make any sense at all until I finished a different puzzle in the same zone and learned a new ‘trick’. But as I approached the end of the game something seemed to be fundamentally missing, as if I hadn’t learned how to pick up boxes. So when I reached the climax of the game, I found myself unable to complete the puzzle to make the final ascent. When the solution was later shared with me, it turned out I’d been building bad bridges all over again: by not mastering a late-game mechanic, I’d only learnt a wrong way to read the puzzle.

    Any individual puzzle in Bonfire Peaks is good—brilliant, actually—tightly crafted, using every part of a puzzle map for necessary bottlenecks, obstructing height, or escalating stairways precisely as needed. Its world is beautiful, and as a collection of puzzles, it’s incredibly smart. If only its uneven progression and self-conscious story additions didn’t make for as rough a climb.

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