Camp Canyonwood is a life sim and management game that places you as the head counsellor of summer camp. It is in development by Deli Interactive LLC (We Need To Go Deeper) with publishing by Graffiti Games (Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion, Blue Fire). It is only available on PC and became available via Early Access on Steam on August 4, 2022 with a full release pending for 2023.
Take the Lead as Counsellor of Camp Canyonwood
Summer camp was never really something I personally took part in much growing up. I’m pretty sure my experiences were limited to some day camps sponsored by the YMCA. I suppose I did attend a week-long camp a summer or two for Boy Scouts as well, but don’t particularly remember really enjoying it as I mostly just got homesick. Camp Canyonwood is interesting because it seems to be just as confusing to me trying to entertain campers as I feel it would be in real life. Do you have any fond memories of summer camps? Or have you been a counsellor yourself? Be sure to share below!
Camp Canyonwood boils down to what collectively I think we could agree is what most expect when thinking of summer camps growing up. As camp counsellor, it is up to you entertain campers with activities such as hiking, exploring, fishing, wood chopping, and more. Your main objective is to keep them busy, happy and safe at camp. With any luck, they go home to their parents after camp praising their time there. The better they enjoy themselves, the more money you earn to spend on the camp and help keep the place a fun camp to visit. This also advances the camp’s reputation which appears to be the end goal.
There isn’t much time at all to prepare for campers in Camp Canyonwood. The player is kind of thrown to the wolves right from the get-go. Trying to learn how to play while also keeping campers happy can be a bit overwhelming. Several of the activities that are on the list of things to do you simply cannot do right away, though the game makes it seem as if you should. For example, there are bugs and critters everywhere to catch, but no net in sight. I wasn’t able to figure out how to get one at all during the first summer. Some things you can buy from the few other camp staff, but money is also fairly sparse. Completing donation “quests” unlocks other various useful items as well so completing those is key.
My biggest frustration in Camp Canyonwood right now is how eating and energy seem to work. Campers and the player each have their own individual energy and health points, which you lose completing activities or taking damage respectively. Apart from ending the day, eating is the only way I found to restore energy. However, there were several times that I’d get a warning about low energy just to pass out as I was eating something. Not to mention the campers were constantly complaining about being hungry when they even had food in their inventory. The tips for feeding campers also say that if you make food they will automatically eat it. I did not see that to be the case.
Despite my efforts, campers went hungry, bored, and felt unsafe even while with me. I really couldn’t figure out how to boost those levels in my first couple of seasons in Camp Canyonwood. Perhaps it is a matter of learning as you go. But it honestly gave me more frustration than enjoyment.
Graphics & Audio
As far PC games go, Camp Canyonwood has minimal options for graphics settings. When I say minimal I mean really it only lets you change your resolution. Oddly enough though the resolution defaults to the lowest possible. But then changing it didn’t appear to make any noticeable difference anyhow. Either way the game plays smoothly enough and the hand-drawn graphics aesthetic is a nice touch for the genre.
I will say that one of my favourite things about Camp Canyonwood is the music. It brings a nice atmosphere that lends to a chill game session. I especially enjoy the short guitar session around the campfire at the end of each day. It made me want to hear more of that particular track.
It is hard to say at this time where Camp Canyonwood will land on longevity. Depending on how much more complex things get further into the game, it could be worth more than one playthrough. Just from the start though I could also see someone starting a new save after becoming used to the game first. The game does offer three save slots, which really isn’t a lot in comparison to many games today.
Overall, Camp Canyonwood is an interesting experience. I would say that it does kind of throw you into a panic there at the beginning. Hopefully with further gameplay, and development no doubt, it will be more of an enjoyable experience. If this is your kind of game, you really should check it out to form your own opinion. I’ll be putting it on the backburner for now though and will take another look closer to the end of Early Access.
If you like this review, be sure to check out my other reviews here.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.