A Highland Song - Great Scot!
A Highland Song brings cosy adventuring to new heights in a gorgeously realised journey.
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Ahh, Scotland. A land of great beauty, rich history and strange yet delicious cuisine. Somehow this incredible place has been rarely used as a videogame location, with only a spectacular Uncharted 4 segment coming to mind in recent memory. Thankfully, A Highland Song has come at a peak seasonal time where going for a long, wet hike wearing a thick, woolly jumper is perfectly timed. Indeed, Highland Song is the most fun you can have getting absurdly high in Scotland without running into the Trainspotting lads. 

Oh high land

A gorgeously rendered side-scrolling mountain-climbing game with survival and rhythm game mechanics, it’s a unique beast. Playing as Moira, you go on a quest to reunite with your long-unseen uncle. This leads you across a wide range of mountains and you’ll need to use environmental clues to find the path that will lead you forwards. Moira is equipped with her journal which will become filled with environmental details, clues and Scottish lore as you progress. There’s some frustration in being stuck on these puzzles but this is a game to vibe in more than to knuckle-down to complete. There’s a calming joy in hiding from a torrential downpour until the weather becomes more agreeable for adventuring. 

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New Heights

However, that only covers the “Highlands” half of the title. Where’s the song? Along with a generally gorgeous soundtrack, the rhythm segments of Moria’s ascent are where the most impactful moments are to be found. You’ll enter these sections along the way and will time Moira’s jumps as she steps on glowing markers. As local fauna join her, these parts feel like a classic Disney musical segment if Cinderella swapped her terrible fragile footwear for proper mountain boots. These sections lack the precision of a full-on rhythm game but play fast and loose with the mechanics for memorable moments rather than punishing gameplay.

The punishment comes elsewhere. With so many routes to take and dead-ends galore, your initial journey will be rough. However, the more time you put in, the more you will learn about this environment, and the things that annoyed you the first time around will become markers to find your way. It’s a deceptively complex game but the gorgeous presentation and immaculate mountaineering vibes will keep you engaged for a few playthroughs at least. If nothing else, a burning desire to holiday in Scotland will emerge from this adventure. Hoorah tourism, whether virtual or real!

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About The Author

Niall Glynn has been playing video games since he first realised that Mario could go INSIDE a pyramid on the N64. In-between his day job and sleeping you can find him watching poorly dubbed kung-fu movies and/or playing weird games on his Switch. Thinks Return of the Jedi is the best Star Wars and is colour-blind.

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