Chopping wood is nothing new in the world of video games. Whether it’s for building a barracks in Age of Empires or crafting a hatchet in ARK, this humble resource is always well worth gathering. I’m not sure I’ve ever played a game as wood obsessed as Lumberhill though, so I hope you brought your axe.
As one of many lumberjacks, it’ll be your job to chop down trees, and take their wood to the mill. The gameplay loop is similar to that of Overcooked, with requests for different types of wood added to the corner of the screen and time limit to get them there. This sounds simple but it doesn’t take long for the chaos to ensue.
Lumberhill review: Chop & Carry
It obviously doesn’t take much skill to chop up a log and carry it to its destination, but there are plenty of hazards waiting to ruin your day. From bottomless pits to flaming meteors, staying safe while carrying out your profession isn’t always that easy. Each level is full of new obstacles just ready to ruin your score.
As well as chopping and delivering, you also get requests to herd animals into their barn. With the initial sheep this can be done by either scaring them in the right direction, or carrying them one by one if the little sods are giving you the runaround. As you progress though you’ll need to use a variety of methods to gather critters, from luring pandas with bamboo to stealing little dinos from under their aggressive parents nose.
Playing with others
All of these tasks can be accomplished on your own, but Lumberhill doesn’t really become interesting unless you’re playing with others. There are options for online and local co-op for up to 4 payers, and the more people you add the more chaos will ensue. Herding animals as a group in particular takes expert communication, or you’ll just end up with sheep all over the shop. There’s also a versus mode, which involves one team siding with animals to try and ruin the lumberjack’s day.
There’s a nice variety of worlds and optional objectives to keep thing fresh throughout Lumberhill. After the standard forest, you’ll end up in Asia, amongst pirates and even in prehistoric times. Each themed level brings with it an optional objective too, so if you can finish a level without dying or missing a task you’ll unlock a snazzy new axe.
Lumberhill: Control issues
In theory Lumberhill should be a lot of fun, but in practice the lackluster controls do a great job of ruining the experience. Controlling your lumberjack just feels so imprecise, and it takes way too long for the game to register your inputs. Picking up individual items is also very hit and miss, which isn’t ideal in a game about gathering logs. It’s hard to explain just how frustrating the control issues are in practice, but when your teamwork is on point and you fail due to shoddy inputs there’s no worse feeling.
There’s also a really weird issue I experienced when chopping down trees, that’s more physics related. When a log chopped, it falls to the ground with such vigor, that sometimes it’ll bounce off at an unexpected angle and just plummet off the edge of the map. When a timer is ticking down and you lose a crucial log through no fault of your own, the red mist truly descends.
Lumberhill has everything you need for a thrilling co-op party game, but ultimately control issues let it down. All the dinosaurs and pirates in the world can’t make up for the fact that it feels like a chore to play the game. If you’ve exhausted every last level of Overcooked! you might find some fun here, but it’s hard to recommend over other chaotic offerings.
Chaotic co-op gameplay
Better with friends
Control issues ruin the fun
Logs have a mind of their own