THE LAST DOOR (SEASONS 1 & 2)
Start Date: July 13, 2016
End Date: July 16, 2016
The Last Door is yet another Lovecraft-themed point-and-click adventure game, but unlike All the Way Down, this one actually has some substance to it. So much substance, in fact, that the game is divided into two seasons of four episodes each. I played them all right in a row, and it was a pretty seamless experience. The only major difference between the two seasons is that – for reasons I won’t get into here – they each have a different playable character.
This is an occult horror story, with strong themes of one’s past coming back to haunt them. It’s Lovecraftian in the sense that it involves secret societies and ancient supernatural forces, but mostly because of the wonderfully eldritch set pieces – creepy mental hospitals, ominous old manor houses, mysterious villages, etc. You get the idea.
Gameplay consists of very traditional point-and-click adventuring. The Last Door has fantastic puzzles with logical solutions that all feel seamlessly integrated into the story and settings. The puzzles are generally pretty imaginative and unique, but I couldn’t help chuckle when I came across this:
Has there every been a point-and-click game that didn’t involve a bookshelf, complete with a description like the one above? It’s gotta be the genre’s most omnipresent cliché. I’d make fun of adventure game developers for how much they seem to get off on making up fake book titles, but I get it. I’d totally do the same thing.
That screenshot should give you a good sense of what The Last Door‘s graphics look like. Everything is rendered in a super-pixely, self-consciously old-fashioned style, which can often be quite beautiful and creepy:
But I think the game goes a little bit too far with the old-school art style. This often became a problem when I was trying to find a specific item, and the blurry, blocky graphics rendered that item nearly impossible to identify. Like, check this out:
That thing in the middle of the screen is supposed to be a table with teacups on it. If you could tell that just by looking at it, congratulations for being some kind of fucking superhuman. I walked through this room about ten times before I figured out what that was supposed to be, and this is a problem that repeated itself over and over again throughout my playthrough. I’m sad to say that it led to me cheating way more often than I should have.
Still, even with those issues, I enjoyed the game’s aesthetic overall. I especially appreciated its excellent use of sound – creaky floorboards, leaky pipes and other such ambient sounds come together to create a much richer atmosphere than you’d expect from a game with those visuals.
But what really makes The Last Door shine is its story, which was engaging enough to keep me playing and powering through segments that might otherwise have been super frustrating. And power through it I did, finishing both seasons after just a handful of play sessions over a three-day period.
If you’re a fan of adventure games – particularly those with horror themes – you could do much worse than The Last Door, so long as you have the patience to deal with some frustrating bits. It’s available on Steam and mobile platforms, and it seems you can play the first season for free in your browser. October is just around the corner, so add this one to your Halloween playlist!