Bonfire Peaks’ puzzle man would be a great (and terrible) presence in a house move – Rock Paper Shotgun

Puzzle game Bonfire Peaks is probably a metaphor about emotional baggage and closure. But I know writers who use subtext and they're all cowards. Published by Draknek (wot did the equally puzzly A Monster's Expedition), Corey Martin's new voxel Sokoban-style game features a man slowly making his way up a mountain and totemically burning all of his stuff. Secretly, though, it is a story about a man who has the only superpower people in their 30s actually want: being able to pick up and move any number of boxes at any time.

In terms of how the puzzles actually work, it's kind of like Stephen's Sausage Roll, in that you must move a thing in a very precise way to get it in a fire, but with more vertical bits and significantly fewer sausages. In every level you have a box of things, and your little voxel man in a bomber jacket must burn it. Only the bonfire is almost always up a small cliff, which means placing a bunch of other boxes down first to create a route to it. You can climb anything that is one box high, but two boxes height is too much, so you might need to make yourself a step, you see. And you also can't turn into a wall or object if you're holding a crate, or you'll bomp off it, so you spend a lot of time walking backwards.

Each puzzle is part of a set of puzzles, represented by unlit firepits clustered together on the side of the peak you're climbing. You can sort of swap around and do them in whichever way makes sense to you - although the puzzles do teach you new concepts in a sensible kind of order.

I haven't finished it yet, but it's clear Bonfire Peaks has a deeper emotional story unfolding. As you climb up, you see little incongruous setpieces on the side of the mountain, like a sofa with toys in front of it. Also, every time you complete a level and burn your stuff, you get a new crate in return to use to climb to the next area, and I can't help but see this as a semi-hilarious and ironical dark bargain. A man wishes to burn all his stuff, and a finger on the Monkey's Paw curls, so eventually he has more stuff than he ever started with.

Bonfire Peaks is a very good puzzle game with very lovely art (the flowering trees are a particular highlight for me), but I'm having trouble connecting with its thoughtful story bits. Instead - probably because I am in the early stages of planning a move myself - I keep thinking about how the Bonfire Peaks protagonist would be a great removals man. He can pick up and carry any number of boxes stacked on top of one another, and swing them around as if they weigh nothing. They can even be very big boxes! Not a problem, no sir.

The downside, obviously is that he would also be a terrible removals man because once the moving was done he'd set fire to everything you own. Sometimes, you'll have to push the box-to-be-burned into place using something else, or pre-build a configuration of boxes in such a way that when you pick one up and turn them everything will be in the right place. So he'd be great at the box-jenga part of packing; it's just the burning thing is inconvenient, isn't it?

In all seriousness, though, Bonfire Peaks is good, which is to say it is really fucking difficult, and I recommend continually pausing, trying a different puzzle, turning the game off and eating a biscuit, and then coming back to the puzzle you were stuck on. And also that this man start a combined removals/fire extinguisher wholesaler business.

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Bonfire Peaks' puzzle man would be a great (and terrible) presence in a house move - Rock Paper Shotgun

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