Bonfire Peaks is relatively new to the scene, having been released on 30th September this year. It is a truly exceptional puzzle game offering a mammoth 202 puzzles to solve.
Bonfire Peaks has been designed in stunning voxel-art with the puzzles coming from the incredible (and devilishly tricky!) minds of Corey Martin and Alan Hazelden. Fellow puzzle gamers may recognise Alan as being responsible for A Monster’s Expedition. The game itself features a character who is on a journey to burn his belongings. This cathartic journey takes you through the ‘overworld’ which sees you start at the bottom of a mountain. You must navigate your way upwards to its summit where a satisfying conclusion awaits. Each puzzle is marked by an unlit campfire. On approach your character simply sits down and you are instantly loaded into the level with no fuss or preamble. When the level is completed, you move back to the overworld to see your character now sat by a lit fire with a crate spawning in alongside. These crates are vital to your progression upwards into new areas. Don’t panic though, not all have to be solved, meaning you shouldn’t reach a state where you feel locked from further progress.
The game designers have gone to extreme lengths to make the puzzles approachable. Your character has a limited array of movements (no diagonal steps are possible) and these moves come to feel intuitive after a short while. What’s more is that they have provided a simple ‘reset’ to the puzzle so if you should find yourself having gone down the wrong route to solve a puzzle or done something you didn’t want (like thrown all your crates in the water in a fit of desperation!) you can restart without having to leave the level. For those who have been more restrained and perhaps just taken a step too far you can undo single moves. This is accompanied by a beautiful ghostly outline of your character. Worryingly, when I have used this, I have realised just how many steps I’ve taken. When repeating the puzzles, I normally find they can be done infuriatingly simply! Functions such as these though make the game suitable for those who like to sit and think things through as well as those that like to take a more trial and see approach. Whilst sitting and thinking you can enjoy the stunningly fitting soundtrack.
Initially you may be wondering how it is possible to complete 202 levels with just crates. It does sound a lot! However, the game constantly evolves. Other mechanisms are introduced, seemingly without introduction. You learn on the spot and through your own experiences. Whilst the introduction of water was my personal favourite there are also breakable blocks, arrows and spikes. The delight in not being spoon-fed when these come into play is, in my opinion, immense. Bonfire Peaks encourages you to constantly reassess what you know, or think you know, to master a new mechanic.
The overworld may at first seem like somewhere to blindly pass through. After all, you got the game for the puzzles so surely it is those levels that matter and warrant all your attention? Here the answer to that is definitely ‘no’. The overworld has been thoughtfully created to hint at the journey of the developer and it was a privilege to share in some of those finds. He has also been kind enough to share that space with the works of other developers leading you to look for easter eggs pointing you to the likes of Patricks Parabox, Kine, Monster’s Expedition and even the Discord symbol for Thinky-Puzzle-Games.
For those who like to gather achievements you won’t be disappointed. They are scattered throughout the game and many you will find yourself bagging them through minor mishaps in levels. Yes, that does mean I tried to burn my belongings on a torch instead of the actual bonfire, I may have shot my character (lots) and killed him in spikes (not intentionally, honest)! The final achievement, Let Go, felt like permission at the end of the game to do just that. It was a journey I didn’t know I even needed to take until the end.
I have created a full video walk-through on Steam with timestamps for each individual puzzle here.