By Ashley Ring / July 21st, 2016
|Title||The Last Door: Season 2|
|Developer||The Game Kitchen|
|Publisher||Phoenix Online Publishing|
|Release Date||March 29, 2016|
The Last Door: Season 2 is a point and click adventure game with a horror mystery theme to it that continues the events of Season 1. Going into this game, I was unfamiliar with the title and didn’t really know what to expect from it. To my pleasant surprise, the game was something that was right up my alley. The Last Door: Season 2 does a lot of things right. Immediately after the game started I was given a recap of the story from Season 1. From the moment the moody piano music started during this recap, I was intrigued and interested for more. One thing that I appreciated a lot in the games options was an option to change the games font to “Dyslexia-friendly fonts” mode. This changes the in-game font to be large and bold, which makes everything much easier to read. While The Last Door: Season 2 may do a lot of things right, was it a satisfying and enjoyable experience from start to finish?
The game follows Dr. Wakefield as he investigates the mysteries surrounding the disappearance of his patient, Jeremiah Devitt, and the horrors he must face while looking for his missing patient. The story is spread across four episodes, each of which lasts roughly around an hour and a half to two hours. Before each episode, you’re also treated to a quick recap of the last episode to keep you refreshed on what’s currently going on. The story is well written, and cleverly presented in such a way that you’re never quite sure what exactly is going on, but it keeps you intrigued thanks to the mostly excellent pacing.
The strong second episode is a shining example of cleverly written dialogue and riddles. One moment you’ll be wandering around the manor of an ill man solving clues to riddles he created, the next you’ll be controlling some of his past memories that are presented as a classic text adventure game. This text adventure moment was so simple, but so effective. You just have a blank screen that states what the character can see, as well what direction he can go. Even during this scene, the atmosphere never suffers. There may be only text on screen, but thanks to those descriptions, and environmental sounds, the mood is still present. For as strong as episode 2 was, episode 3 was considerably weaker. The pacing felt off and was lacking the superb direction and intrigue that the first two episodes had. Thankfully, the last episode makes up for the weaker episode 3.
The Last Door: Season 2 plays like a classic point and click adventure game. You have a static background that you can explore and examine objects in, as well as find items to pick up. Whenever you examine something in the atmosphere, Dr. Wakefield will give a short monologue about what he sees. It plays a lot simpler than most point and click games. You don’t have to worry about trying 10 or more different commands on one single object, it’s all automatically done whenever you click on an object. There are also significantly less things to interact with than most point and clicks I’ve played. With simplification like this, it makes the game much more approachable and enjoyable for people who may not be familiar with the genre. However, the game is still cryptic enough that fans of point and click adventure games will still find something to enjoy.
There are plenty of characters you can interact with while exploring, all of which generally have their own set of dialogue trees to help give you more information in your quest to find your missing patient. The dialogue trees are fairly short and simple. Usually after 3 or 4 dialogue options you have all the information you can get from them. The characters are interesting, though. Each one has their own little story, and provide information that gives you just enough to still keep the mystery going. The most interesting character without a doubt is Dr. Adam Wright, a man who doesn’t make much sense at first. As you speak with him he provides riddles that can only be solved through examining different objects in his manor. This kept me motivated throughout the second chapter, as I was always finding just a little bit more information on the story, as well as a new direction with each riddle solved. Sometimes these characters will even ask a favor of you, which generally involve finding an item for them or doing a simple task for them. More often than not, these characters will give you direction and motivation on where to go next. At one point in episode 2, you’re asked to deliver a flower bouquet to a grave. Doing so unlocks a new area to explore on the world map.
The areas you will interact with throughout The Last Door: Season 2 are fantastic. The game is presented in a very basic 2D pixel art style, mixed with some fantastic shadows and lighting effects to make it look like so much more. A lot of attention to detail went into the game’s environments. Most of the backgrounds are presented in a typical 2D background. Some of them however, do things differently, like placing an emphasis on the foreground to create a unique camera angle. This added more to the atmosphere and mood. The design of each area really helps push forward and portray the narrative, giving off a sense of dread and suspense. In addition to this, the fantastic sound design and score really compliment the story. Moody piano and violin songs help create a mood of intrigue and suspense, while eerie sounds such as loud breathing and strange otherworldly noises help create an unsettling feeling that add to the horror elements.
Though each area is small, they are also full with layers of detail and intrigue. The size of each area to explore also helps with the pacing. Each chapter has its own different world map screen, where you can select a few areas to visit, unlocking more as you progress in the episode. Since each area is on a small scale, it helps the narrative’s pacing considerably, as there are less things to exhaust through trial and error when you are unsure of what to do next. One nice feature is that instead of having to fully walk across rooms you’ve visited before, you can double click on the exit to that room to make the game immediately go to the next area.
While you’re exploring each area, you’ll run into a number of different environmental puzzles. These puzzles can range from simple to obscure and cryptic. The simpler puzzles involve simple tasks like tuning an old gramophone radio to the right frequency by rotating two different dials until you can hear music playing. The more difficult puzzles are usually something that was right in front of you that you may have just overlooked in your search for answers. Some of them, though, may have you struggling to figure out what do to or where to go next because they can be very cryptic. In the third episode of the game, there is a puzzle where you have to find a way to charge an empty battery. To actually do this, you have to combine an old bicycle chain with someone’s ring to be able to charge the battery using the bike, which is something I don’t think I could have figured out on my own. Puzzles like this are thankfully not that common.
There are a few moments in the game when I just felt I had no idea what I’m supposed to do next. Like many point and click games, this game has some very obscure tasks to do for progression that I hadn’t figured out until I was at a point of trying different combinations to exhaust all options. One example of this is when I had two pieces of paper. One was blank, the other was charred but had some writing on it. What I was supposed to do was burn the blank piece of paper to reveal invisible ink to combine both to reveal a number. This is something I actually figured out by accident when clicking on the wrong item in my inventory. There are only a few other moments in the game that are like this thankfully, so it doesn’t hurt the story’s excellent pacing.
Through its clever use of storytelling and its presentation, The Last Door: Season 2 creates an excellent point and click adventure that keeps you on your toes from the moment the game starts. Despite its less than stellar third episode and its hit or miss puzzle design, this is something no fan of point and click adventures should miss. The Last Door: Season 2 generally goes for $9.99 and lasted me around 10 hours of playtime. Though you can play the first episode on the games official website for free if you’d like to give it a try! Even if you’re not a fan of point and click adventure games, the price makes the game worth experiencing, especially if you’re a fan of mystery and horror!
Review copy provided by publisher.
Phoenix Online PublishingReviewseason 2The Game KitchenThe Last Door