Marina Montez finds herself in quite a unique situation as her story begins on a boat on course to an uncharted island with nothing but her late grandfather's journal and a request to document and preserve the unique beasts of Maravilla Island. As she continues to explore and snap photos, she learns all about the island's history as well as her grandfather's relationship with it many years ago.
Beasts of Maravilla Island's most profound aspect is, without a doubt, its relaxing tempo. The game is strictly linear but with all of its environments and inhabitants, it encourages the player to stop every few paces to take the camera out. There's always something new around every corner and each discovery is a beautiful treat bursting with creativity.
The attention to detail is simply marvellous, especially in Marina's grandfather's journal. Each creature and plant has its own sketch or two, along with some notes that he jotted down on along the way. You'll also be treated to heart-warming notes that will surely make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
There's really nothing better than walking into a new area in camera mode and taking snapshots of uniquely designed beasts. With the abundance of creatures to take photos of, you'd think many would look similar to one another but actually, each has its own unique characteristics meaning that when you see it, you'll know it's new.
- A game to be taken at your own pace
- Marvellous attention to detail
- Unique beasts
Where Beasts of Maravilla Island sadly suffers is in its technical aspects, meaning that you will undoubtedly come across frame rate dips. Currently playing through version 1.0.2, this game could have perhaps used another month or two in the oven to iron out those kinks.
In addition, there were a few frustrations with the camera where when looking through the first-person perspective, you can stay in that view for as long as you like (unless you start jumping across ravines and over lily pads). I often found that when switching from a first-person to a third-person perspective, you would be facing in the direction that the character is facing rather than the direction the camera was facing. This becomes disorientating and many times, I found myself needing to find my bearings before continuing onward. I found that a map (or even a compass) could have solved some of these issues.
There were many times where the game said that I was taking a photo of a new beast/fauna even when the camera wasn't pointing at anything in particular. During these moments, I felt as though the object was likely hidden behind what I was looking at (like a tree trunk or a rock) and this sometimes took away from the magic of discovering a new beast.
- Performance issues
- Camera frustrations
- Taking photos of new creatures despite sight being obscured
Final Score: 7/10
With such majestic beauty around each and every corner, Beasts of Maravilla Island is a marvellous photography adventure packed to the brim with wholesome charm. The studio's ability to create a story with such heartfelt themes of wildlife preservation hits home without being too forceful and despite its technical drawbacks contesting my immersion, it's a wonderful piece of art to absorb yourself into. I feel like a lot of the qualms I have with this game can be ironed out with future patch updates and knowing how much of a passion project this is for Banana Bird Studios, these fixes seem inevitable.
Thank you for checking out our Beasts of Maravilla Island Switch review, thank you to Whitethorn Games (via Banana Bird Studios) for providing the review code and thank you to our $5 and up Patreon Backers for their ongoing support: