Camp Canyonwood – The Adventure of a Lifetime

Released in 2022, Camp Canyonwood sets you off on an adventure set within a camping setting. It’s full of soft colours and fun graphics, which might give off the impression of it being designed to appeal to a younger audience. As does the low threat level that runs throughout —although being bit by a snake does sound scary!

It’s developed by Deli Interactive LLC, who also created We Need to Go Deeper. Much like the previous game, Camp Canyonwood has an unnerving thread running through it, but rather than a Cosmic Horror theme, it’s more Campfire Horror. It’s interesting then, that it says that it’s based on a true story. And that, out of respect for the people involved, no real names are given, which brings out questions on what terrible things have happened there.

When applying for a job, it’s always irritating waiting for a reply. Not here! It seems that Camp Canyonwood is in urgent need of staff, therefore hiring you immediately when you apply for the position of Head Counsellor. Seems strangely easy, as you’ll soon be looking after children for a week with little to no questions asked. However, when you arrive at camp, you begin to discover its secrets and reasons for the easy application process.

As you’re able to customise your bird (character) all the way from gender, colour, to shape, the game is effectively inclusive. This is also shown in the ability to have choices during your time at camp. 

Similar to other sandbox games such as Minecraft, an eight-box inventory slot is present at the bottom of the screen. This allows the player to switch between tools and items fast, which is essential when they’re urgently in need.  As for the mechanics, the game follows a traditional WASD movement, with a few more useful key codes: E to interact (another classic one), F to pick up items, and Q to drop them. 

Camp Canyonwood - beginning

Upon arrival, you get a chance to meet three other staff members as well as your employer; a cold, mysterious character. By contrast, the cook, nurse, and carpenter all give a warmer welcome and aid you throughout the game, providing you with food, medical help, and tools/assets respectively. This stark difference sends out a message that just like you, the others are clueless to the mysteries of the camp.

Soon after, four little campers are put under your care and start following you around. After all, your main goal is to look after them and make them busy during the day. These little ones are able to perform tasks, or watch you perform tasks, boosting their skillset and earning badges which improve the camp’s reputation and earn you money. Additionally, you’re able to hold conversations, forming relationships with them and improving their trust and respect for you. These interactions affect later parts in the game.

Despite having to look out for dangers for you and the campers at all times, there are heart-warming moments. At the end of the day, before sending everyone off to bed, there’s a fire by which you’re able to play music and tell scary stories, as a reminder of the camping experience. Here, the warm, soft colours play an even more important part, making the gameplay more enjoyable and aesthetically pleasing. However, the day doesn’t end there. At night, your character is visited by a mysterious deer creature called The Jack, who, as time passes on, reveals more and more secrets about this strange camp. It is your choice whether you’ll hear him out.

Due to the player’s ability to make their own choices and move around freely, the game successfully engages its audience under the slice of life aspect. As each character is assigned different appearances and personalities, it makes them more realistic and relatable — ultimately making the game itself more engaging and interesting.

Camp Canyonwood - menu

Another useful feature of the game is the menu which appears by pressing Tab. It is useful to check and track the campers’ progress and find out more about them, which is essential when assigning them jobs according to their likes and dislikes. For example, someone who likes fishing will be happier doing so rather than a camper who likes collecting flowers. However, as seen above, there are still some unfinished information boxes which all say “Example”. Although this doesn’t greatly affect the gameplay, it would be best to fix this in an update.

While on the topic of disadvantages, another limiting factor is the inability to manually save the game. Each day lasts around 10 minutes, after which the game saves automatically. Yes, 10 minutes isn’t too much to worry about, however it is still a setback. Adding a “Save” button to the menu instead of just an “Exit” option would definitely encourage a person to play for longer, as they wouldn’t be afraid to lose their progress if they suddenly had to abandon the game. 

After all, Camp Canyonwood provides an incredible gaming experience, able to satisfy a range of audiences due to its inclusivity in genres. Checking it out is definitely worth your time, particularly if the points listed above remind you of other games you have enjoyed in the past– and I bet they do!

Camp Canyonwood is available on Steam.

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