Beacon Pines has been one of my most awaited games since I first heard about it. It heavily reminded me of Gravity Falls and the general thought of it as Winnie Pooh mixed with that kind of Mystery genre was so incredibly appealing to me. The Great Mouse Detective is still one of my favorite movies to this day.
So, with confirmation that, no matter how rough things get and the level of angst, there would be a way for things to turn out okay, I had been patiently waiting ever since I played the initial demo a year ago.
For those who want a spoiler-free thought thing, I’ll be blunt when I say this won’t be one. This will mainly be wrapping up my thoughts having played through the entire game more or less (I’ve missed some achievements and at least one charm, the latter especially which I’m still hoping to find) and feelings I have at the finale. I will be vague about certain aspects of the game, but honestly, the game genuinely hit all my expectations and then some— I genuinely really adored the game. I have my whole playthrough up on Youtube if you would like to watch it. This was very much a situation of “this book is too good and I need to turn the page immediately because there is no way I can leave it there” which was just my constant feeling as I played.
While there are a few things I felt a little less satisfied with, it definitely didn’t take away my overall enjoyment. Some plot points I called (or at least got before the main characters even if my initial guess was wrong), others I didn’t realize until the reveal. But anything more I can say will have to go below, with a reminder that we’ll be going into Spoiler territory below the “read more”, even if I’ll still be vague about certain aspects.
There’s just so much charm, pun unintended, in the game honestly. I spent so much time trying to check out everything which, while you often got to do easily in the earlier parts of the game, felt a little trickier to figure out what you could check out before causing the plot to continue, especially as many of the later scenes became cutscenes that led you somewhere else when it ended.
While you could use the Tree to go back to certain points, some of those points between Charms are actually really long— there’s no skip button in the game for seen text so you’ll either be reading it all or spamming through because you read it all before just to get where you want to check out again.
This is a situation that really stood out for me especially when breaking into a certain building, where I found the room I needed to much quicker than expected and even on a second run-through after I finished the game, I’m still not sure if I actually saw everything. The game’s save points are solely in the charm choice placements and some segments of Chapters feel especially long. Breaking into the building was towards the end of the timeline between these two points with the next choice being a final choice in that trail that happened after this moment and the point before being something that takes place two days earlier and before a big reveal.
I feel like if you could at least pick a specific chapter inbetween the Charm Points, that could help a bit. I feel like as I try to find whatever Charm(s) I may have missed, this may eventually get a little grating for me.
Moving onto the story itself, there’s two characters in particular that I expected to be able to be reverted back due to another character, but in the first time skip, that clearly didn’t happen. It’s possible it does in the second time skip as we do not see most of the characters that time, but I think that’s kind of my biggest frustration with the time skips, or well, more so the first one, is that it skipped over a lot of things that we saw in other paths that I just… guess were taken care of now?
I guess I wanted to see the reactions as a group or figuring out how to close things with the fireworks and everything revolving around that. It just gets kind of brushed over here, even though we never really got the full reaction of those characters recognizing where they are. Not to mention a certain mysterious character we don’t see again outside of one route and who left me with even more questions.
There’s also another character, or well, an older version of a character, we only see in dreams that never really comes to fruition. There was one point where I thought maybe that route would start in the building I mentioned earlier, but it never actually did. With the time skip though and what we see happen at the very end, I do feel like there has to be some continuation? Something to fully fix the problem.
And I think that’s the one thing that left me unsatisfied because, while everyone was okay, we figured out the secret of the town, we helped get rid of the creepy company, we found Luka’s Mom… But the problem was still there. As our mysterious guest in another timeline said, the fix was only temporary and my constant wondering what we’d be doing about that was I think the number one thought in my mind throughout the ending. Well, that, and concerns about two characters still being the way they were.
In a lot of the endings, there’s often the Narrator saying “That’s it? That can’t be it” and I always agree. Here, this was the true happy ending… but it still felt like something was missing. Maybe it’s a sequel or DLC, but either way, I’m just hoping for an answer. The final scene felt a bit too ominous for that to truly be it.
Despite my few critiques here, I really did love the story. I loved so many of the characters (And any dislike came from the character’s motives– they were all well-written), I really loved the world of Beacon Pines, they could literally just make silly side stories of the characters hanging out and talking about Comics and other day to day things and I would play and read it intensely.
I really hope, whatever comes next, this won’t truly be the end of Beacon Pines. I guess you can say I can’t truly close the book just yet.
Disclaimer: I did receive a code for the game! Though, I also backed the Kickstarter. Anyway, thoughts are always my own :)