The Last Door: Collector’s Edition is a point & click adventure thriller set in Victorian Times, developed by the Spanish studio The Game Kitchen and published by Phoenix Online Publishing. Under the tagline “Low-res Graphics, High Suspense,” the Last Door tells the story of Jeremiah Devitt and his investigation into the sudden death of one of his oldest friends.
- Fantastic atmosphere.
- A wonderful experience that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
- Astounding soundtrack.
- A few clever puzzles.
- The payoff isn’t worth all the buildup.
- Uneven movement speed.
- Very short.
The Last Door: Collector’s Edition is a bundle of the entire first season of this episodic game. The first episode opens with Devitt visiting his friend’s home, trying to piece together what happened to him and the meaning of the wild ramblings and terrible actions he committed before his death. From there, each episode jumps a bit further down the rabbit hole as Devitt finds links to their youth and their school friends and their extracurricular activities.
Visually I described this game perfectly the other day during a conversation, “minimalist in graphics, barely 8-bit.” That’s the only way to describe it. The visuals are extremely low-res, looking similar to old-school Atari games. Having said so, the game does feature beautifully detailed locations and while some pixel hunting is necessary, it’s never obtuse; hotspots catch your eye very quickly. What it does have is a fantastic use of light and shadow and fog that’ll keep you nervous throughout the experience. It’s the Victorian England of your nightmares, where each shadow seems alive and every light source becomes a seemingly safe Haven.
The thing about such a low-graphic game is that your storytelling has to be extremely compelling, since players don’t have the ‘eye candy’ they’re used to nowadays. On that regard, The Last Door does a good job and each episode builds up the suspense and tension, constantly keeping you on the edge of your seat. A part of you will wish to run away but the other will keep you going, too interested in finding the truth. The story itself has been described as a love letter to H.P. Lovecraft and I enjoyed every bit of it, from the mad ramblings to the strange names and symbols and creepy visions found throughout.
Sadly, when you reach the end, the payoff for all the buildup isn’t worth it, and you’re left with a very sad “To Be Continued in Season 2” message that did nothing for me but instantly deflate the tension the game had worked so hard to create throughout the experience.
Sound design and composition are the real stars of this game, and the music score is filled with tense and dark tunes, and shifts in pitch and melody that will jar your senses and work in tandem with the shadows mentioned before to create such a wonderful atmosphere, both intriguing and chilling. I can honestly say I haven’t seen many suspense games that have created and pulled off a chilling atmosphere as well as The Last Door does. The soundtrack is now one of my favourites and I desperately want to get my hands on it.
As an adventure game, you’ll find plenty of puzzles in your way; most of them rather uninspired inventory-based puzzles that are very obvious. Once in a while, you’ll find some clever puzzles that might come close to heat up your brainpan but they’re the minority.
The character’s movement speed became something of an annoyance to me. In illuminated environments, he moves rather spryly but in darkened rooms, his movement is slow and almost frightful. While at first this helps build up the tension, that inescapable fear that something might be just out of sight, it just becomes tediously slow when you’re going back and forth between the rooms collecting items to solve the puzzles.
This is a very short game, and each episode will give you about an hour of gameplay, but you’ll thoroughly enjoy the experience from start to finish.
The Mental Attic Score: Worth Buying. With its low price tag, the experience is worth it. This game is much like the joke “The Aristocrats”, it’s not really about the punchline but the journey, and The Last Door’s journey is fantastic.