By Former Contributor Nathan Stiles / June 19th, 2014
|Title||The Last Door|
|Developer||The Game Kitchen|
|Publisher||Phoenix Online Studios|
|Release Date||March 1, 2013|
|Age Rating||N/A (Mature Audiences)|
Does anyone out there remember back in the day when point-and-click adventure games were not only fairly common, but often considered some of the best games on the market? It seems like lifetimes ago, doesn’t it? Some people may be surprised to find out that even with all these years of evolved gameplay and presentation, some of these old school adventure games are still being made! All joking aside, if you happen to have a nostalgic itch for some good old point-and-click adventuring, then perhaps The Last Door will be up your alley; a game that prides itself on being modeled after those classic games, with a story ‘based off of Lovecraft’ and an art style that goes for pixelization and nostalgic charm.
Obviously, the most unique thing about this game is the visual style, and there are certainly times where I was amazed by what they could create with the pixelized art, but I can’t help but feel that in this particular case, the downgraded graphical style may not have been the best choice. There were a few times when I couldn’t tell what an item was supposed to be because it just wasn’t drawn well within the style, and in a point-and-click adventure, knowing what you are looking at is the most important thing.
If there is anything I can truly applaud this game on, it is the pitch-perfect sound design. The music is beautiful, and the sound effects work perfectly to convey the dark atmosphere. There was a rather ingenious moment towards the end of Chapter 3 where you must complete a puzzle using only audio clues, and this, to me, was the highlight of the game, and only worked because the sound design was so well done, so, “Bravo” to the development team in this regard.
There’s not much to talk about when it comes to the gameplay, it’s a generic point-and-click adventure game with all of the usual elements… so, basically, you click on every inch of each screen with every item you’ve obtained in hopes that something new will happen. In fact, because of this gameplay style, adventure games generally fall into the trap of using ‘adventure game logic’ where the designers are trying so hard to be creative that the solutions end up being ridiculous, such as a robotic bunny being needed to set off land mines, if I may make an example from an older, more famous adventure title. Luckily, The Last Door mostly avoids this pitfall, and I almost always instantly knew what each new tool would be used for, with a couple of minor exceptions (Really? I have to use a rolled up scroll to blow a feather out of a giant birdcage? I couldn’t just… reach my arm between the wide open bars?) I find that these types of games are never really interesting in terms of gameplay alone, and have to be driven by a solid story, but does The Last Door’s story carry the game?
The game does have… well… I hesitate to call it a good story, but it does keep you wondering what is going on which is obviously the intent. The problem inherent with episodic content and a suspense story being put together is that every single episode will end on a cliffhanger, and the same is true here. It becomes even worse when you reach the end of the season, and there are still more questions than answers. Don’t get me wrong, I was curious about what was going on, but I’m certainly not curious enough to wait for half a year, and then pay another 15 dollars just to try and make sense of what should already be at least a somewhat completed product. The other inherent problem is that, while reviewing, I am forced to avoid spoilers, and, since the entire basis of the story is that it’s a mystery, even describing the intro sequence could be devastating, though it is by far one of the most effective openings to a video game I’ve seen. The story peaks during Chapter 3, and Chapter 4 offers absolutely nothing in the way of clarity, making the whole endeavor feel rather pointless.
I feel the last thing I need to talk about with this title is, that for a suspense/horror game… it’s just not scary. I am a complete wimp when it comes to anything horror-related. I’m the first to change the channel when some ghost show is on, and I often avoid horror movies ever since I saw one that broke my spirit. This game never once had me scared, uneasy or even got me with one of its jump scares. While the game does do an adequate of setting the tone, I saw every scare coming. If you are looking for a unique story, it’s here, but if you are looking for a low graphic horror game for the scares, I’d suggest you check out something like Corpse Party instead.
The more I think about this, the more I can’t help but think I’m just not the intended audience. I feel bad for being harsh towards this title as I do think it’s an ambitious game, and there were multiple times I was genuinely enjoying it. It doesn’t help that the game feels very incomplete because of its episodic structure, and the game seems to completely and purposefully avoid giving you any answers in the final chapter just so you will buy more content. Ultimately, the story did leave me interested, but that interest didn’t last. As the title stands now, you have less than a complete story. In fact, the entirety of the season is just a set up for more to come, so it feels like a teaser more than an actual ‘season.’ It’s been less than a week since I’ve completed the game, and I already don’t care anymore. There seems to be a rather dedicated following to this title, however, and I may very well be in the minority. The first few episodes of the game are available for free on their website, and each chapter will take you less than an hour to play. My suggestion is, give it a shot — you have absolutely nothing to lose — and, if you do end up liking it, you can buy the full collection on Steam, and get access to the final chapter for $10.
Review Copy Provided by Publisher
Note: This review is specifically about the Steam Collector’s Edition
The Last Door is available on Amazon:
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