A Highland Song, the beautiful “open platforming” adventure from Heaven’s Vault and 80 Days developer Inkle, is almost here and will be launching for Switch and PC on 5th December.
A Highland Song tells the story of teenager Moira McKinnon who one day decides to run away from her life of relative seclusion in a small house on the edge of the Scottish Highlands, after recieving a letter from her Uncle Hamish, inviting her to his lighthouse on the coast.
What follows is yet another genre shift for the ever-ambitious Inkle. This time, the acclaimed studio – which has previously dabbled in the likes of visual novels, turn-based strategy, exploratory adventuring, and murder mystery – is combining its acclaimed narrative expertise with 2.5D platforming, as Moira sets off on a journey across the Highlands, where “every peak has a story to tell and every valley echoes with song.”
Moira will climb hills, scale cliffs, slide down slopes, and spelunk caves as her adventure progresses – the environment forming itself to match the folk rhythms of a soundtrack provided by Talisk and Fourth Moon – and she’ll also need to shelter from rain and wind, and watch her hunger in order to survive the Highlands’ “wilderness of paths, peaks, shortcuts, dangers, and song.”
Notably, Moira route to the coast isn’t a straightforward one. Paths criss-cross back and forth across the peaks – some well-trodden, others considerably less so – and Moira can collect and position 100 map fragments to uncover new avenues for exploration. Inkle says the secrets and stories players find during a single playthrough are determined by the path they choose to tread, giving plenty of reasons to take the journey again.
“The narrative is not branching but weaving,” the studio explains, but a “mesh of history, mythology and family secrets.”
A Highland Song looks glorious – Eurogamer’s Christian Donlan and Robert Purchase were equally enthusiastic after playing a bit earlier this year – and it’ll offer up a soothing antidote to the impending end-of-year chaos when it launches for Switch and Steam on 5th December.