It wasn’t that long ago that HandyGames announced Scarf, a puzzle platformer developed by Uprising Studios. We got our first look at the game during a press event back in September, and with a December 24 release date Scarf was the last pre-Christmas title we took a look at this year. It’s a PC exclusive at the moment, so we played it through Steam.
As a somewhat typical Christmas gift, scarf is certainly aptly titled for its release day, but the titular scarf is also a core gameplay element here. What appears to be a piece of clothing on our protagonist is actually the child of a great dragon that can morph into different things – including, yes, a scarf. It’s a novel approach to gaining and using abilities, as over the course of your adventure your scarf will give you the chance to glide and double jump.
Abilities we’ve of course seen countless times before, but the scarf angle at least brings a novel visual flair and charm to otherwise standard platforming. Scarf is a relatively straightforward platformer in terms of the challenge it offers, though you can somewhat freely explore and look for collectibles as well, which are sometimes story-related. Perhaps ‘world-building’ is more apt though, as this isn’t a game that shoves its narrative into your face but rather lets you slowly unfold what’s happening.
The puzzles fit this theme as well, as they are nuances and not overly challenging affairs, making this a puzzle platformer that’s easy to digest even for those who aren’t die-hard fans of the genre. A nice and related palette cleanser, if you will. Its lovely visual style, which is dream-like in places, also helps with this – the red scarf providing flashes of color that point at progress and hope for our cute little hero.
“Pleasant” is a good word to describe Scarf, which is a frustration-free adventure. Its platforming isn’t very daunting, its puzzles are rarely of the head-scratching variety and its audiovisual delivery, which includes music that fits the storybook-like aesthetic, is lovely. While that also means that Scarf doesn’t offer any standout features outside of its scarf mechanic, it’s a solid choice for PC players who enjoy the genre – even though it’s a little on the short side.