Developer: inkle Ltd
Platforms: Mac, PC, (Reviewed), Switch
Publisher: inkle Ltd
A Highland Song is an open platforming and dynamic storytelling game. This game was developed and published by Inkle. The gameplay style is similar to games like Limbo and Inside, but a Highland Song features its own unique aspects. This review was done for the PC, but the game is also available for Switch and macOS.
A Highland Song is a single-player game where you play as a teenager named Moira. Moira is a runaway teenager who is trying to cross the treacherous mountains to reach her Uncle Hamish’s lighthouse. This magical-realism journey is set through the Scottish Highlands. Moira travels through caves, peaks, and trenches whilst enduring the cold, rainy nights. Moira has to try to reach the lighthouse in time for Beltane (the Gaelic May Day festival).
The controls for a Highland Song are fairly simple to get used to. All you need to focus on are the directional keys and the enter key. Sometimes, it can be a bit weird to interact with objects as Moira needs to be directly on or beside the object. The default interaction key should be switched to another key rather than the enter key to make things much more easier. The controls were easy enough to get used to and made the gameplay effortless. The game also has a beat calibration at the beginning to make sure the timing for the music is on key.
The art style of A Highland Song has a drawn sketch to it. Moira, in some instances, seems like she’s drawn in a similar style to Charlie Brown. The art style contributes to the immersive experience, capturing the essence of the folklore and mystical, which captivates the Scottish environment. The art style blends hand-drawn and digital artworks that bring out the beauty of the Scottish settings. The art style truly brings out the detailed landscapes, atmospheric lighting and stunning character designs. The art style is beautifully complimented with the chosen soundtrack of this game. The game’s soundtrack enhances the connection to the atmosphere of the world and brings out the beauty. There are gameplay segments in the game where the mechanic switches to a run-on-beat feel. This run-on beat is synced perfectly with the girl running on the screen. Subtle piano, violin, and various orchestral music blended to create a symphony greatly captivates the music style of this game. The Scottish voice acting makes the game even more adventure-like with its mystical storytelling. The music and visuals are absolutely stunning for this game.
The game does have some replay value where you can try to figure out various routes to reach the lighthouse on time and get the game’s ending. A lot of features in this game really help the player embark on this hill-climbing adventure. You can pick up lost loot, which can be useful later on in the journey. You can come across various rest points that can help you take shelter from the night or storms. One great detail to this game that adds more of a realistic value would be the ability to catch your breath. Of course, climbing hills and crawling through caves would be exhausting, so just stopping for a few seconds to catch your breath is everything.
I really enjoyed the game for its storytelling and the gentle, calming adventure that unfolds. Climbing different hills and peaks with the relaxing music makes you want to explore more. I love the music segments where you start running and jumping to the beat, which adds more variety to the game. Another really fun detail about the game is checking maps and pinpointing various peaks. The game is made to get the player to truly go on an adventure to find the best way to get to her Uncle’s lighthouse. I had fun playing the game as it was something to sit back and enjoy. There was no haste to it, and going slow and steady whilst learning more about the story was enchanting.
A Highland Song is a lovely platformer game that is enriched with story, music and maps. The game revolves around a hill-climbing journey to reach your Uncle’s lighthouse in time for the big event. If you’re looking for a game that has many mystical and folklore elements which are brought to life through visuals, music and story, then this game is definitely worth checking out!
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