Developer Corey Martin • Publisher Draknek & Friends • Release March 2, 2023 • Played On PC
Leaving behind a now-empty, seagull-pecked box on a shoreline illuminated with flaming beacons, I set sail. My vessel, the distinctive swan-shaped paddle boat players will remember from Bonfire Peaks‘ base game, glides out into the unknown. The graceful ship looks like a speck of white floating over a calm, vast, and lonesome ocean.
This is how Bonfire Peaks: Lost Memories Pt 1 greets its players. Just as enigmatic and evocative as the original 2021 release, the DLC offers a familiar experience. Fans of the game can look forward to testing their mettle against tricky, box-burning puzzles that continue to stretch the imagination. And new players can jump into the fresh content right away without summiting the initial peak, though I recommend they do.
Suddenly, a destination materializes, and I halt my fowl’s voyage at a dock flanked by tall trees. Like the sea, it’s a lonely place. The wooden beams overlook an abandoned, sinking canoe, and a singular unlit bonfire is the only hint of warmth.
These eye-catching scenes spring to life in the stellar voxel art style. Keeping with and enriching the game’s speculative nature, the graphics don’t form a naturalistic picture. Rather, the player has to study the surroundings and interpret what they’re seeing, making each experience slightly different.
So far, the colors in the first part of the DLC are brighter than the base game, with sky-colored blues and lily pad greens. So while a feeling of isolation hangs over the world, it’s a sight to behold.
Sitting at the fire ring leads me to the first puzzle. I’m transported to a small platform with an adjacent tower, which, of course, is guarded by a button-activated arrow trap. In keeping with Bonfire Peaks’ signature humor, my first failure is memorialized with a trophy. I won’t tell you what it is because if I had to find out the hard way, so does everyone else.
Having just played through the first game, I made things more complicated than they needed to be, but the riddle isn’t a pushover to solve either. This challenge will undoubtedly turn some people away who aren’t looking to tackle the kinds of head-scratching puzzles they’ll encounter — especially as there’s no help on hand. You either figure it out, or you don’t.
Successfully clearing the hurdle lands me back in the overworld, now with a box to help me reach new areas and unkindled fires. Exploring hasn’t changed and using hard-earned crates to poke around all the branching pathways is still the name of the game.
Today’s release is only part one of three set to come out sometime this year. So far, it looks like Bonfire Peaks: Lost Memories is off to a promising start.
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