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How does your child play this? Alone, with friends, with family? How did they discover it and what kept them coming back for more?
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Our examiner, Angela Hickman Newnham, first checked Beacon Pines a year ago. It was re-examined by Jo Robertson and updated 8 months ago.
In Beacon Pines, you guide Luka around as he sneaks around with his friends, investigating the weird happenings in their town and trying not to get caught. Play consists of interacting with people and places around town and making important choices about how Luka will approach the problems he faces at certain points in the story. Exploring the town, talking to people, and looking at things will reveal Charms like “Hide”, “Chill”, and “Ponder”, action words that you use during important moments called Turning Points.
One unusual thing about Beacon Pines is that you can go back and forth between Turning Points any time to try out a different path. Experimenting with different Charms and moving between the story paths is built into the gameplay rather than something you would need to replay the game or reload a save file to do. Revisiting past Turning Points once you have discovered new Charms may reveal entirely new branches of the story, and the ability to return to any previous choices grants the freedom to explore.
The result is a surprisingly fresh way to experience a story. The playful nature of changing different key moments not only adds weight to the narrative you let play out, but encourage you to consider "what if?" Beacon Pines looks like another wholesome story game, but actually offers a more substantial and innovative narrative experience than its visuals suggest.
7+ year-olds usually have the required skill to enjoy this game. Still, it's important for parents and guardians to consider the maturity required to process the game content. Younger players may need help to understand the implications of some choices. Played together with a parents or guardian they should be fine.
Release Date: 22/09/2022
Out Now: PC, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S
Content Rating: PEGI 12
Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds
Accessibility: 23 features
Components: 2D Side-On and Hand-Made
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