What’s beyond… The Last Door?
Now normally, horror games aren’t something I’m totally into, but with Halloween just around the corner I felt that The Last Door would assist me in getting into the holiday spirit. And I wasn’t let down. The Last Door is an episodically based horror game created in a voxel world and developed by The Game Kitchen. From what I can see on the developer’s website, each new episode is crowd funded too, which is kind of cool.
As soon as funding levels are hit on an episode, that section of the game is then released to its funders first, then afterwards as free-to-play content on their website. Gameplay is simple, ‘adventure game’ stuff and consists of point-and-click, with a retro feel. The Last Door is set in the early 1890s (1891 to be precise), and you play as Jeremiah Devitt, who’s in search of what happened to his childhood friend, Mr. Beechworth.
The plot is very well written, and draws you in, similar to the writing style of Lovecraft. The game gets weird right off the get–go, involving the tying of a noose, and the scary elements don’t seem to stem as much from “things jumping out at you” variety, as they do the plot of the story itself. The tale has those creepy, ‘evil’ horror traits that we’ve come to expect from this genre and Lovecraftian storytelling. I would certainly like to say more about it, but won’t, at the risk of ruining the story for any future game players. So with that in mind, we’ll slide right into just talking mechanics.
You’re thrown directly into the game after the start, with no tutorial or instruction on how to do things. Once you figure out the point-and-click system though (which is pretty fast), it all falls into place quite nicely. This game reminds me of the “Escape the ___” style flash games, in the sense that you’re gathering and combining items to progress in the story. The game also lets you double-click on other rooms in the building you’re in or the exit of the current room that you’re in, to move around the game much quicker – which is good, because the continuous walking gets a bit tedious.
The environment for The Last Door has been thoughtfully created, as small details like creaky floorboards, crows, and the evolving ever-creepier music build the tension. The game features an original soundtrack, by Carlos Viola, that progresses with the episode as well. The music is not static, and changes with the story, directly influencing the mood (LOVE little touches like that -ed). Unlike the music though, graphically the game is only okay. With the voxel/pixel art style, there is a definite and deliberate lack of definition. Though it was a design choice it can, at times, be tricky. That’s especially true when small items, such as keys, are hidden against the background.
The game is free-to-play, but the collector’s edition is available for purchase on Steam, which currently includes first 4 episodes and supports the development of further chapters. “We want to keep The Last Door free-to-play, so that anyone can enjoy it regardless of his/her financial state. To get to the quality standards that we’ve set for The Last Door, we have to be fully involved in its development, and that means having a significant budget for each chapter.” – The Last Door FAQ (https://thelastdoor.com/index.php/faq)
I’d love to go more into the specific details of this game, but I don’t want to run the risk of spoilers.
I would rate this game a 7/10 – not because it’s bad in any way, but because nothing really stands out. There are no new concepts or mechanics and nothing has really been revitalized or changed from similar genre games. However, if you’re looking for something to play to get you in the Halloween mood, I would say this is a good choice.
With the original soundtrack, absorbing storyline, meticulously laid-out details, and just enough ‘spook’ for a person like me, it’s definitely worth the small price tag of $10.