There’s an immense amount of variety among the games featured in the ongoing Steam Game Festival. Beasts of Maravilla Island is one that really stuck out to us immediately. Centered around a magical island full of wondrous creatures, Banana Bird Studios’ Beasts of Maravilla Island is warm and welcoming.
Beasts of Maravilla Island opens with a young photographer arriving on a mysterious island. With only a journal full of notes left by her grandfather and a camera by her side, the photographer embarks on a delightful journey.
While there is a narrative throughline in Beasts of Maravilla Island, the game really allows you to go at your own pace and discover the world as it presents itself to you. It’s peaceful, warm, and serene. There’s also voiced dialogue, as our protagonist often comments on her surroundings and the creatures she encounters.
One aspect that really dials home the sense of immersion in Beasts of Maravilla Island is the sound design. With the island being home to a dense, heavily-populated jungle, there’s an abundance of ambient noise. From the birds chirping above, to monkeys screeching in the distance, to the leaves rustling together, the world feels incredibly lived in.
The gameplay in Beasts of Maravilla Island is entirely focused on finding unique animals, bugs, and plantlife and snapping pictures of them. These pictures are logged in the photobook, which players can use to track progress. There’s such a vast number of different creatures and plants to find, that the completionist in me immediately wanted to methodically track down each and every one of them.
To add depth, the game also tasks you with taking photos under different circumstances. For example, monkeys exhibit several distinct behaviors, and players will need to capture all of them. Some subjects can only be accessed by using the camera flash, or whistling to get their attention.
A magical new world
Beasts of Maravilla Island is a calm and relaxing photography game that lets players take their time and really live in the world. With a beautifully fleshed out setting, Beasts of Maravilla is one of the most interesting titles featured at the Steam Games Festival 2021, and one we’ll be keeping our eyes on for its launch later this year.
These impressions are based on a digital download code provided by the publisher. Beasts of Maravilla Island has a free demo available now on Steam. The game is set to release later this year.