I have bought A Short Hike six times, which is about half the amount of times Bethesda wishes I would buy Skyrim.

After last weeks video I felt like I needed a bit of a break, I feel like I’ve earned the right to say the least controversial or brave thing of all time. I’m coming out of the closet to admit that I love A Short Hike. I know, surprising, an indy games channel that likes A Short Hike, what year is this, 2019? The game is available on everything, even more so now that it dropped on Games Pass on Thursday, meaning you could play it on your phone now too if you really wanted.

A Short Hike is a sweet little game that can be finished in a single sitting. You play a bird thing who’s trying to get to the top of a mountain as just something to do and to get cellphone reception. This is weirdly relatable because I remember doing the same thing as a teenager when I was on the ship my dad was working on. I’d go to the very top of it to try and get cell reception so I could txt girls about how I was on a ship.

Much like Liam Neeson’s Taken the entire premise of the game is right there in the title. Looking back on it maybe they should have called it a Short Taken cause his daughters only been kidnapped for what like, 3 hours?

The game is free roaming and only a couple key points gate your progress via a Breath of the Wild stamina bar. The bar is increased by finding golden feathers found equally via exploration and interaction. There’s a surplus of these so you aren’t going to need every single one to beat the game. Just do whatever you like and you’ll have enough eventually.

I think that is one ingredient in the secret sauce that makes this game so good. We talk so much about the gamification of work, I don’t feel like nearly enough time has been spent discussing the Jobification of games. but this game avoids that by making sure there’s zero grind or arduous gating that might get in the way of a good time. In fact in Q&As the creator Adam Robinson said he could have easily made the game longer if he added death states. I guess drowning and fall damage. But what’s the point of making a game longer than it has to be? It’s not how long your game is it’s how you use it.

It’s like when you’re writing an essay and expand all the contractions to fluff your word count. I see you with your double spacing, I saw what you did.

The other half of the secret sauce is movement, it’s one of those games you wanna play because it’s just so smooth, like a sausage covered in baby oil going down a water slide. 

I juiced this game of all it’s achievements plus starting another playthrough in six hours. Just getting to the peak will take about an hour on a repeat playthrough. Which is all you need to do to complete the game, in the same way that arriving at your hotel and then immediately leaving it is considered completing your holiday. You’ll miss so much of what this game has to offer if that’s all you focus on. Adam made a point of being more casual with the writing in this game to break the block he was having with his Paper Mario RPG he’s also working on, writing it the way he’d chat with friends online, and it’s aggressively charming. I needed new socks afterwards cause it charmed them all off me.

This game has made such an impact it’s already spawned offshoots in what I’d like to call “hike-likes”

The most obvious example currently is lil gator game which is just as much a love letter to Zelda as it is to a short hike, and I hopefully get around to reviewing here one day, shout out in the comments what you thought of that one.

But you know what, I hope there aren’t too many games like a short hike. I hope it’s just A stepping stone to something even better and just as unexpected.

I was originally going to give A Short Hike my Retroactive Golden Rattie Game of the Year 2019 award but then I remembered that a ton of great games came out in 2019. To name a few you’ve Got Baba Is You, Disco Elysium, Outer Wilds- Ah fuck it I’m not gonna live forever, A Short Hike takes it away congrats.