I don’t know what it is about puzzle games, but so many of them have the tendency to be pretentious. Bonfire Peaks sits on the cusp of pretentiousness, but just stops short. It instead ends up being a contemplative and challenging puzzle game about letting go.
Bonfire Peaks is a puzzle game where your goal is to burn your belongings. It has an incredibly simple premise that ends up having a good amount of variation and surprising difficulty. You are limited in how you can move and interact with boxes, but that is part of the challenge. You can only pick up boxes at around chest level, and only in stacks. If something blocks your way, you can’t turn with a box. You character also suffers a bit from tank-like controls, requiring you to carefully maneuver boxes around lest you get stuck, knock down a stack of boxes, etc.
The overworld itself is also a puzzle, and it’s the most story you get in Bonfire Peaks. A game about letting go, there are hints of the character’s life scattered between fires. Each of these fires is a portal to a new puzzle, and another crate full of belongings to burn.
Bonfire Peaks has some incredibly tricky puzzles, and has almost hidden mechanics that you need to discover in order to solve them. While I usually say that puzzle games might be easier for some than others, I think even those who are good at spatial puzzles would struggle with some of the harder ones in Bonfire Peaks. This has resulted in some seriously satisfying “ah ha!” moments, however.
While its decidedly a modern game, its combination of chunky almost voxel-like graphics and stiff, tanky controls gives it an old school feeling. Playing it for the first time reminded me of spinning up a PlayStation demo disc and finding Bonfire Peaks as its lone puzzle offering. There’s something about its vibe that is almost meditative, and peaceful.
I enjoyed the time I spent with Bonfire Peaks. There were some seriously tough puzzles, a few of which I was convinced had no solution—until it finally came to me. While Bonfire Peaks has simple mechanics, it has a whole bunch of almost hidden techniques that are required to solve some of the puzzles. If you ‘re stuck in Bonfire Peaks and think you’ve tried everything you could—there’s probably a surprisingly unconventional way to solve it.
A Steam key was provided to us for this review.
If you like the video game, tabletop, or other technology content that Third Coast Review has to offer, consider donating to our Patreon. We are the only publication in Chicago that regularly reviews video games, and we cover lots of local Chicago-based events and more. If you want to contribute to our coverage of Chicago’s video game scene (and more) please consider becoming a patron. Your support enables us to continue to provide this type of content. Patreon.com/3CR
You can also catch us streaming games we’re reviewing and staff favorites on our Twitch channel.