Walking Simulator games live and die on their narrative first and foremost but you still need to have a cohesive walk to tell the story. Our Mountain initially intrigued me because you don’t just control a human named Charles, you can also control his pet puppy too. Indeed, the pair of you set off on a mountain journey to reach the city and get some medicine for your poorly pup. If only the game would let you do that calmly.
Predominantly you’ll be playing as Charles, our bug-eyed human who has a tragic past. Haunted by events that become clearer as the game progresses, the mountain you cross is a supernatural one. People have been going missing and the mountain’s closed off. However, pup needs medicine so off you’ll travel. The environments look nice in their low poly vibes are littered with notes that attempt to tell a story. They are a little clumsy but the main narrated dialogue lands better. There is an air of melodrama given by the chintzy hamming it up score but it adds some personality and flair.
The story is least of Our Mountain’s problems though – the controls are a nightmare. Your human works nicely enough, its the puppy. On a controller, the pup gets stuck deciding if it should walk or run and so ends up doing neither. I spent about half the time trying to control the puppy just mashing the run button to get a response out of it. The keyboard controls are better but the issues persists. This is made all the more maddening because you can only control the puppy for a limited amounts of time. In order to control the puppy you have to pet it and feed it apples and this exasperates the issue. If you can only control the puppy for 60 seconds a time, but 30 of it is wrestling with the controls to get the thing to move, its a one way ticket to frustration. It takes another minute or so to pet and feed the puppy again to get back in control of it too – its just a time waste.
When controlling the puppy, levers and things that are interactive are bright orange, but quite who can interact with what is left up to you. Its like Our Mountain wants to be a visual and environmental gameplay mechanic communicator but hasn’t quite done it in a way to connect the dots. Early on there’s a giant door with an orange line that leads to some boxes you can’t get around, but they are orange too. You can’t move them and nothing else seems to trigger their movement. It’s just a very odd system.
All these movement problems overshadow the experience constantly. Usually, its the story that makes or breaks a walking simulator but for Our Mountain, its the walking that breaks it. If the controls and environmental storytelling were fixed and solid, this would still be a short but possibly sweet enough adventure with a binary choice to make at the end for your fate. It just wouldn’t be in my top few tiers of recommendations for these types of games as others do this better, with less bugs and frustration.
Review copy provided by developer.