You play as Luka, a twelve-year-old deer, who lives with his grandmother in the idyllic forest village of Beacon Pines. Luka’s father died six years ago, and his mother disappeared about six months prior. No one knows where she went. But then weird things start happening deep in the woods at the abandoned fertilizer plant. And Luka’s best friend, Rolo, gets captured. What’s going on in Beacon Pines?!
The story is very much the focus of the game, as the gameplay is centered around you finding the true ending to Luka’s story. It takes many twists and turns, some sad, some weird. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the story overall once we start piecing together what happened. It just felt random and didn’t come together neatly. But I was super invested in these characters and had to know what was to come for them!
Beacon Pines has the most adorable storybook style graphics, because it is set in a storybook. The art style is what initially caught my attention about this game, and it did not disappoint. It has a soft watercolor look which I simply adored. Every single scene is unique and detailed and gorgeous. Every single character is absolutely adorable and expressive. Yes, adorable is the best way to describe this game. I could not stop smiling at everything.
Sound Effects + Music:
Beacon Pines is fully narrated, as it is a storybook game. I adored the narration. Her voice is perfect for the tone of the story. She’s also very expressive when the time calls for it, without overdoing it. I normally skip narration as I read faster, but I listened to every single word.
The characters speak in an adorable beep boop gibberish that is all too familiar. They all have slightly different pitches and tones. Nothing too much to say about that. The narration is the real star here.
Gameplay + Controls:
Beacon Pines is a point-and-click adventure slash visual novel. You control Luka and can freely move him around the screen. He can also jump, which doesn’t do anything, but is still cute. He can interact with several things in the environment, which is necessary as this is how you’ll find the hidden charms. Charms are the words you use to fill in blanks in the story. Most of them are found from talking to other characters, but some take some exploration.
For the most part you’re free to roam around the town and talk to everyone and find some fun surprises. However, there are times when Luka will say something like “I’d better hurry up” if you try to go somewhere other than the intended location. It keeps you on track, and you can always go back later.
Being a cozy adventure, there is a fishing mini game! It’s straight forward, but still unique for this world. I’d recommend coming back to it toward the end of the game once you have more charms. You’ll see why.
You’ll being doing quite a bit of replaying during your time with Beacon Pines, as the Turning Points are a big feature of the game. The story branches and you may have made the “right” choice or maybe you didn’t and will have to go back to a previous point. It’s not true replaying exactly, since choosing a different charm completely changes what comes next. But you’ll be going back and forth quite a bit.
As for a full replay, there’s nothing that would be different. By design, Beacon Pines takes you down all possible routes as the charms you need for the true ending will only be found in the bad ending routes. I do think it would be fun to go back to the beginning and follow the story straight through.
I just adored this game. It’s straight forward and simple, without much real gameplay. But the story was a lot of fun and I could not get enough of these characters!