2021 is All About Photography: Beasts of Maravilla Island
It seems that 2021 is going to be dominated by titles that have some sort of camera capture mechanic, and that’s pretty OK with me! Earlier this year, two other photograph centric titles were released. One, and indie title called Alwa: A Wildlife Adventure, had you traversing an island attempting to photograph wildlife and bring awareness to ecological preservation. You attempted to stop a hotel company from building a brand new hotel on a delapetated nature reserve. The other, New Pokemon Snap, was a bit bigger of a title, allowing Pokemon fans to capture their favourite monsters in their natural habitats. Beasts of Maravilla Island is continuing the trend in 2021 by giving us yet another experience, and while the photographic gameplay mechanics exist like the others, it provides yet another story.
Armed with a camera and your grandpa’s old field guide, you head to Maravilla Island to photograph the wonders that exist there, as well as uncover the various beasts that roam the island. As you adventure through various biomes, you will fill out the field guide to the best of your ability. You’ll need to get pictures of butterflies and beetles, flora and more. Unique creatures exist in each biome as well, and will have a number of different traits that you’ll need to photograph in order to fill out your nature guide.
In the jungle, for example, you’ll be photographing the Quetzal Monkey, attemping to get two monkeys twining their tails, monkey’s singing, gliding, and dancing. Sometimes, small puzzles are required to setup the photo you need, and these are refreshing moments away form the camera that are interesting enough to get you thinking, but too infrequent in my opinion.
That being said, while Beasts of Maravilla Island definietly borrows from other titles in terms of overall look and gameplay mechanics, the unique environments and the small puzzle solving elements make this as much a necessary play in 2021 as Alwa and New Pokemon Snap. If you are looking for something new and interesting, and want a great art style to marvel at, Beasts is for you. It’s not without it’s minor problems – a few too many frame rate hiccups for my liking – the overall experience is still one worth experiencing!