It’s nice to be surprised every once in a while, and that’s exactly what I got from The Last Door, an award-winning point-and-click horror adventure that’s made its way to console following its acclaim found on PC and mobile. Whilst it’s far from perfect, and whilst it does indeed fall slightly shy of greatness, the game’s surprisingly well struck overall. Furthermore, you’re getting a fair bit of content in return for your investment. The Last Door – Complete Edition is exactly that, a complete collection that compiles everything in one neat bundle.
Here, you’re getting The Last Door Season One, The Last Door Season Two, and a small band of extras across both seasons thrown in for good measure. There’s a total four episodes per-season, all of which play out in a similar sort of fashion. The story that’s spread across these seasons remains surprisingly interesting throughout, and although there’s a few issues with its pacing and the beats don’t always add up, I’ve enjoyed my time with each. The story opens with a rather grim premise, and it’s here where you’ll know how dark this can be.
The story opens with Jeremiah Devitt, a chap that’s just received a letter from one Anthony Beechworth, his old school friend. Upon realizing that there’s a cryptic message hidden within the letter, Devitt sets off to his friend’s aid, only to discover that Beechworth took his own life shortly after sending the note. It’s not long before Devitt begins to recall secrets from his youth, and it’s these very secrets that led to Beechworth’s untimely end, secrets of a supernatural nature that Devitt must now investigate and resolve before it’s too late.
I cant dive too deeply into the story here for two reasons; the game is rather short, and the second season’s premise would give away plot threads from its predecessor. What I will say, however, is that those that enjoy dark tales, those that enjoy work inspired by H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe, and those that enjoy strong narratives, will undoubtedly pull the most from this bundle. I never thought I would be as intrigued as I was, and I didn’t for one moment think that I would take this as seriously as I did. It truly is a fine work of art.
The gameplay is served much like any other point-and-click experience; you’ll guide your playable character through a range of locations, interacting with objects and solving some light puzzles along the way. The main drawback sits with season one, being that it’s far too easy. I found myself breezing through much of season one’s content with little to no trouble whatsoever. This is mostly due to the fact that the environments are very small and confined throughout, and the solution to any given problem is far too straightforward.
There’s not a whole lot that you can engage with either, meaning that the few things you can engage with are dead giveaways for later on. See a crowbar? That must be for the only door that’s boarded up. Find a match? Well, surely that’s for the only item that makes sense to combine it with. These are but a few of the problems that season one will throw your way. The lack of any real complexity comes across as, to a degree, insulting. Especially when we factor in the game’s target audience. Still, that being said, the game does pick up later in.
Season two is a lot more open in this regard, and to its credit, a lot more in-depth and structurally convoluted. It’s certainly the superior season, and just shows that the developer clearly saw faults that they made the first time round and remedied them. It’s very night and day, moving from short and simplistic to lengthy and tough. In fact, playing season two only further emphasizes the few issues found in its predecessor. In any case, that’s something to be mindful of, and I would caution against being put off by the game’s weaker first half.
That, ladies and gents, is the crux of play. You’ll guide your character from area to area as you fill your limited inventory with items that can be used (or combined and used) elsewhere. Being a point-and-click game, you have no direct control over your character, and will instead click on areas of the screen to move to and/or interact with. The game’s areas tend to open up a bit more per-episode, allowing the narrative to flow at a free and unrestrained pace for the most part. Like I said, season two sees some vast improvements.
You’re still chasing a similar thread and working to the same framework, but there’s more of a difficulty present, and a lot more room to move around in. I wont go so far as to say that you’ll be stumped more often than not, but, it’s certainly more fitting for its audience. Then there’s the neat little extras that come with each season; short scenes that add a bit more plot exposure. These scenes don’t really house many gameplay elements, and instead, serve themselves as short bouts of interactive fun that ultimately give you added insight.
It’s the story and atmosphere that takes center stage. The Last Door is wonderfully written, and come with an atmosphere that’s twisted and surprisingly tense. The game adopts a chunky pixelated presentation, and whilst it’s hard to imagine that being particularly scary, I was quite surprised at how the game had me sat up straight. Whether I was slowly moving towards the sound of a harrowing cat in the dark, or, entering a room full of bloodthirsty ravens, The Last Door knew how to teasingly push my buttons at all the right times.
Now, at the time of writing, there’s some minor issues with achievements and saved progress. I seems as though the achievements have yet to be assigned, and its cloud-save system is up in the air. I’ve not been able to continue my progress from console to console. Though, that being said, you are indeed free to start each season at any episode, so it’s fairly easy to overlook, and a problem I’m quite sure the developer will iron out in due course. Now, onto the game’s overall audio and visual presentation; which gets a thumbs up.
The Last Door, across both seasons, is gorgeously presented on both fronts. Despite its low-res design, the game packs a remarkable amount of visual character from start to finish. It helps, of course, that there’s a good deal of variation across the board, ensuring that visual repetition is kept at bay. Then there’s the game’s memorable soundtrack and overall audio design, both of which go hand in glove to produce an experience that knows how to toy with your perception and emotions. Rarely have I been this surprised by a game of this kind.
The bottom line? This is bound to please those that enjoy a well written tale that’s shocks and awes. Though, it’s likely to come across (initially, at least) as unrefined if you’re here simply for your next point-and-click adventure. The game certainly gets a lot right, and there’s more than enough content overall to justify its price tag, but the game’s drawbacks, as alluded to above, do indeed pull it shy from greatness. Regardless though, if you’re even just a little on the fence in regards to picking this up, you’re unlikely to be disappointed.
The Last Door is, at least initially, far too easy for its own good. The solutions to many of the game’s puzzles tend to be borderline insulting for the first half, which doesn’t make for a great first impression. Bear with it though, because despite its simplicity and some issues with its pacing, the game certainly picks up traction later in. That, and its tense and atmospheric story alongside its superb visual and audio design, is truly unlike anything else.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.