Hike review for Nintendo Switch

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Publisher: Ultimate Games
Developer: Morning Shift Studios
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

I’ve played some very, very bad games in recent months. RBI Baseball 21, for example, was abysmal even by the low standards of that series, Norman’s Great Illusion was brain-meltingly stupid, and Ravensword: Shadowlands was just plain terrible.

Hike, somehow, might be worse than all of them.

Given how bad those games were, that may seem like an overstatement. I can assure you that it’s not. Hike looks awful, plays even worse, and, to round it all out, it’s broken. This isn’t just a game that does nothing right, it’s a game that almost seems like it’s actively trying to do everything wrong.

I don’t know how else to describe a game where, as the title implies, you go off on a hike, and then it sets you down in a forest where everything looks the same, and expects you to find things without any kind of map or compass. Like, you enter the forest, a voiceover says you need to find a nice place to set up camp, and then you wander for several minutes until you stumble across a weird mist, which, apparently, is the trigger for a tent to suddenly appear. After that, you have to find firewood, and once again, you’re just wandering with no hints or directions until you stumble across still more mist — and then it’s back to more wandering, since you have to find your campside again in a forest where every single tree and rock look exactly the same.

It was at this point that Hike just plain stopped working for me. My next mission was finding an axe — and, thanks to this delightful video review of the game, I knew that meant I had to find a cabin, walk behind it, pick up a crowbar, and then break into the cabin where the axe was waiting for me.

Somehow, though, that video didn’t prepare me for the insane frustration that awaited me. In trying to walk behind the cabin, for starters, I found myself regularly walking through enormous rocks, and then getting stuck in them. There was no rhyme or reason to why this would happen, it just did, and I’d then have to wander around inside the rock I exited it at just the right angle.

That, though, didn’t compare to the insanity of trying to pick up the crowbar. I’d finally made it through the rocks — literally — to the cabin’s rear, I’d found the crowbar, and…nothing happened. I walked over it from every conceivable angle. I looked at it from all sides. None of that mattered; I absolutely could not pick it up. It took quitting then restarting the game — with all the extra wandering that entailed — just to get past that point.

I’d like to say from that point on Hike improves, but it really doesn’t. Shortly afterwards the crowbar debacle the game introduces jumping (which, really, could have solved the earlier challenge of finding an axe, since the axe was necessary to get over a small log). Needless to say, Hike does jumping and parkour about as well as it does everything else — which is to say, not at all.

Sometimes bad games can be fun, in their own warped way. Hike is not. Hike is just plain bad, boring, and totally disrespectful of players’ time. You’re better off going for an actual hike and getting the attendant health benefits than you would be spending a single cent or second on this putrid game.

Ultimate Games provided us with a Hike Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: F