There were an incredible amount of beautiful stories told through video games in 2022. Whether it was pulling at our heartstrings or simply warming the soul with charm, it was hard to nail down one that stood above the rest. However, ultimately it came down to the game that literally went all-in on its storytelling mechanics, and that was Hiding Spot and Fellow Traveller’s delightful narrative adventure, Beacon Pines.
If a game is going to be all about story, it had better be a good one, and friends, Beacon Pines is a good one. There is so much at play in the lonely little town of animal people. Between main character Luca’s parents disappearing, the town’s backbone crumbling only for a mysterious corporation to barge in and take over, and a wide variety of characters and adventures, this was a game that made us laugh, cry, and feel so many further emotions as its branching journey played out.
That “branching” mechanic is also a big part of what makes Beacon Pines such an incredibly interesting narrative romp. At key points of the game, the player must decide on key words to direct how characters respond to situations. Sometimes, it leads down stark and alarmingly dark paths. Other times, it leads to a wrinkle about a character you might not have thought much of at first. No matter where it goes, the story peels like an onion to serve up satisfying mysteries, thrills, and ultimately closure of various threads.
Somewhere between Night in the Woods, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Stand by Me, and It, Beacon Pines is a rollercoaster of vibes from beginning to end. Among a year of incredible stories and adventures, that’s what put it over the top as the Shacknews Best Narrative Game of 2022.
Check out our Year of the Games: 2022 article to see all of the other Shacknews Awards that have been announced so far.
TJ Denzer posted a new article, Shacknews Best Narrative Game of 2022 - Beacon Pines