I am sure there have been times where my wife has wanted to set fire to all of my stuff. I can see her eyeing the sticker albums, niche books about mushrooms and wrestling and imagine her cackling as she watches the flames dance across them, blistering and bending them into fiery oblivion.
Because like many people, I do like to hoard and collect and treasure, even things that hold painful memories like the bag of my mum’s stuff I can’t bring myself to go through. Would it help my soul if I did just burn them? That is the course of action that Bonfire Peaks silent, nameless protagonist has decided to take.
Your goal is to explore a mysterious, angular voxel island, progressing through each area by solving a very specific dilemma: how to burn a box of all of your shit in a bonfire. Getting to the flickering embers is nearly always on the end of a fiendish puzzle. There are no hints, no clues, just trial and error, learning the mechanics of the grid-based world you are plunged into.
The stages often contain several boxes and you can use them to build walkways. There are environmental hazards to contend with. Gradually new types of boxes come into play. You can only lift boxes at around chest height, and the tanky controls mean that you cannot always turn when holding one. It took me a while to figure out you had to walk backwards up some steps. There are many occasions where you will discover a way forward in a real eureka moment. This doesn’t reveal its secrets easily. It’s a tough game, but a rewarding one.
Solving each puzzle will unlock additional boxes in an overworld area which you progress through. It is clearly an allegory for the psyche of our hero, as it is filled with incongruous objects that are clues to what the character’s life may be like. It makes for an almost spiritual experience, as it feels like you are living vicariously a very real act of letting go, in this stylised, beautiful world, accompanied by a droning electric bath of a soundtrack.
This won’t be for everyone – it can be a frustrating lesson in quirky puzzling that just won’t sit well. But I loved the way this one feels. It is an artistic triumph, but also one for the soul. Never has watching things go up in flames been so meditative and thought provoking.
Ambient soundtrack is a winner
Will stump many players
Art style may not be everyone’s bag
No hints or guides