Sunday, March 18

Review: Last Day of June [Nintendo Switch eShop]


Every once in a while there are games that hit you in a way you don’t expect, even if you can perhaps see their end coming. Whether it is the unexpected or the plainly obvious when you invest time and effort into understanding and embracing your character’s world the resolution to an adventure can leave a lasting mark. The last game that hit me hard was Telltale’s The Walking Dead, Season 1. It’s been years since then and while I’ve played compelling games nothing has quite had that power. That changed playing Last Day of June.


Starting with the look and feel of the game the art style, looking like a hybrid of clay figures and an animated painting, it is amazing. The colors are fully saturated, the environments are lush, and the characters (though they lack eyes) convey a surprising amount of emotion. To add to that the music is evocative and helps reinforce the emotions of everything you see. A fair criticism is that the load times are often a bit exorbitant, and that does sometimes interfere with things, but I’d say that given the aesthetics it isn’t too hard to excuse.

In order to reveal next to nothing at all of the overall narrative, for fear of ruining pretty well anything, I’ll leave you with the fact that it does an excellent job of telling stories beyond just the main characters. Through the course of the game you’ll inhabit multiple people and understand their role to play in this world as well as the nature of their challenges. I encourage you to seek out the orbs that belong to each of them, revealing elements of their story, because they reveal the depth of the storytelling at play and how everyone has their own sorrows and regrets.


In general terms this plays out like an action adventure game, with you trying to work out the solutions to puzzles that present themselves to each character. Through a dynamic that reveals itself in the game you’ll find that there’s a sort of puzzle to be worked out, and you’ll both see the same events through different sets of eyes as well as have the opportunity to change how events unfold. While this can get a bit repetitive at times it all serves the ultimate story, helping to explain how things end up the way they do.

I’m sorry if this review is somewhat evasive but I don’t wish to do anything to ruin the outstanding story in the game concerning love, loss, and even sacrifice for the sake of others. There’s no getting around the somewhat repetitive nature of the core gameplay as you relive the same events multiple times and try to affect different outcomes. There were also a few times where I wasn’t 100% sure what I was expected to do but the thing is, if you are a sucker for a great story, Last Day of June will absolutely suck you in and help prove that games have an amazing power to connect you to a meaningful story.


Score: 8.5

Pros:
  • An amazing look
  • Music that helps reinforce the power of the narrative
  • Multiple worthwhile stories to tell
  • Grab your tissues and buckle up for quite a ride

Cons:
  • The load times can get a bit long
  • A fair degree of repetition as events play out multiple times through the eyes of different people
  • At certain points it isn’t necessarily clear what you need to do to progress