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Review: Campfire Cooking

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S'more please

Camping sucks. It does, it really does. I’m out there, sleeping on the ground, surrounded by trees, insects, and bears all plotting to kill me in my sleeping bag. I have to hang food from a tree so I don’t starve the next day, clean myself in a public shower, and worst of all, make small talk with people who think spending a weekend away from work just one campsite over is a good use of their free time. Sure, it’s nice to get away from the god-awful air quality and noise of the city, and nature is goddamn beautiful to see in person, but I’ll take my nice warm bed in my nice warm room over a tiny tent in some rocky KOA any day. Or at the very least, a nice bed in a sleeper camper.

The only thing camping has over my day to day life is s’mores. I love those sweet little bastards. Why don’t I make them more often? A toasted marshmallow is one of life’s greatest pleasures and, as I learned this past weekend, it can make for one clever puzzle game.

Campfire Cooking (PC, iOS [reviewed on an iPad]) 
Developer: Layton Hawkes 
Publisher: Layton Hawkes 
Released: October 19, 2017 
MSRP: $3.99 (iOS), $5.99 (PC)

I have just a handful of puzzles left to solve in Campfire Cooking, a new puzzle game from developer Layton Hawkes. These remaining few broke my brain in my initial run at them. Sandwiched in between far simpler puzzles, I imagine I’m overthinking their solutions but every time I try to solve them I end up making hundreds of moves in a waste of time that ultimately ends in my submission. It’s aggravating I'm stuck with these unsolved few but I am very appreciative of this being a game I can't simply cakewalk through.

The concept behind Campfire Cooking is instantly recognizable. Like some of the best brainteasers from the Professor Layton franchise, the game is made up of sliding puzzles. The object is to cook whatever food is present in the ever-changing puzzle grid. Usually just a marshmallow or two, but further into the game, there are pots of food to deal with and obstacles that can turn a simple solution into a mind melter. Marshmallows need to be toasted on both sides once. Toast the same side twice and I can either start the whole process over or use the incredibly helpful rewind feature that allows me to undo as many steps as I want.

Pots of food must be left on the flames in order to be cooked. As I unlock new campgrounds, there are new tools and challenges I face. Charcoal lights dormant fire spots, magnets pull pots along with them, and switches ignite burners. These additions give later puzzles the appearance of something quite trying but end up being simple when I step back and look at them thoughtfully.

This is a fun and intelligent puzzle game. Really my only complaint is the controls are not as exact as they need to be. I can only directly control the sticks and skewers that hold the marshmallows and/or charcoal briquettes. I can rotate sticks clockwise or counterclockwise as long as there isn’t something in my way, such as a log, another stick, or one of the pots I am supposed to move. Rotating a stick should be as easy as holding it and then swiping left or right, but it doesn’t always work. It often just pushes the stick forward, occasionally burning my marshmallow in the process. With the rewind feature it’s not that big of a deal, but for as often as it occurs it can be darn annoying.

When I am unwinding after a long day and commute, Campfire Cooking is the exact type of game I want to play. A quaint and clever puzzler that is able to get a myriad of miles out of its simple concept, it’s nearly perfect on my iPad and well worth the tiny asking price.

[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]


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Campfire Cooking reviewed by CJ Andriessen

8

GREAT

Impressive effort with a few noticeable problems holding it back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash.
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CJ Andriessen
CJ AndriessenFeatures Editor   gamer profile

Just what the internet needs: yet another white guy writing about video games. Also, I backed that Bloodstained game. more + disclosures


 



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