The Last Sky charmed me into buying it with some beautiful visuals and a trailer that evoked some ethereal story driven platforming. Whilst the game does deliver both of those things, it didn’t quite come together in the way how I’d hoped it would. This results in a game that feels like two separate experiences mashed together and neither feel quite right. A powerful narrative it may have towards the end but its an odd journey to get there.
You play as an old man looking back over his life although quite where real life ends and his imagination and memories begin seems to blur as the game progresses. This breaks the game into two very distinct modes. When playing as the old man in present day, you’ll be doing very basic point and click style puzzles. These are fetch quests in nicely drawn environments but they won’t be offering you much of a challenge. They do however paint a picture of the character you control and his life.
The second mode takes place in his memories as he relives moments of his life in a slightly abstract fashion. Objects that trigger memories pull him into 2D platforming levels where orbs act as bounce pads. You’ll be jumping from orb to orb like a freebird as you fly around the level. The physics are floaty and forgiving to give a dreamlike feel to the events. These are satisfying when they flow but as there is not much skill involved unto the very end of the game, they are often over very quickly. Towards the end of the game orbs also become portals and one touch death triggers and its only then there feels like skill involved. Levels can be completed in a matter of three minutes maximum and the game itself can be completed in an hour with ease.
Where The Last Sky excels is in its moral compass of storytelling. You’ll see this mans life through various lenses and this all leads to a dramatic conclusion which was handled maturely and made me think about how we view our heroes. The storytelling is a little stilted at times as if parts of the story are missing but that brings me onto my main complaint of The Last Sky… it feels like its been cut too short.
In the point and click area’s, there are rooms that you don’t touch, objects you can look at but not do anything with and lots of set dressing that you can easily skip over. It feels as if all this detail was going to be used for additional levels but the levels were cut for time or budget purposes. This extends to the platforming mechanics and the very light levels that are over so quickly. They feel like they are building up to do something bigger, bolder and more interesting but then the game ends all too quickly. I find it interesting that the developers have said they are going to add levels into the main game but then if its not finished – why was it released in its current shorter state?
The Last Sky has its charm but its gameplay is thin and simplistic. I wouldn’t mind that if I was truly engrossed in the story but that also feels lopsided. There is a good game in here waiting to burst out with some tweaks and additional meaningful content. At present though, its a tentative recommendation for story focused gamers only. The puzzles and platforming aren’t strong enough to recommend it on those elements along.
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