Jeremiah Devitt crossed the threshold to the Other Side. Now Dr. Wakefield runs follows his footsteps, intent on finding his former patient and discover the secrets of The Last Door.
Genre(s): Horror | Adventure
Developer: The Game Kitchen
Publisher: Phoenix Online Publishing
Release Date: March 2016
Played: Season, 4 Episodes
Purchase At: Steam
The first season of The Last Door saw Jeremiah Devitt vanish to the other side through the veil, with no conclusion or explanation, something that annoyed me to no end when I first played the game for review. I dreaded the second season would do the same, offer mysteries and questions but leave them unanswered. I was very glad to see that didn’t happen and not only is the second half of this story as compelling as the first but there is a conclusion to it. No matter which ending you choose there’s finality to the story, all plot lines closed and most if not all questions answered.
Each episode adds to the mystery and the revelations, showing characters peripheral to Devitt’s story but extremely important to the overall plot and characters. The first couple of episodes focus on the origins of the experiments that led Devitt and his compatriots through the veil, with the second half focusing on getting answers and finally meeting Jeremiah Devitt and find the Ultimate Truth.
Overall the pacing of the story is perfect, as is the trickling of information throughout the season, giving you many chances of coming up with your own answers and theories, something that games in this style and genre pretty much live on. Unfortunately, you spend the last episode of the game reading exposition, explaining—in detail—everything you suspected or found out throughout the previous three episodes. It breaks off the pacing terribly, and makes all the exposition and explanations feel crammed in, as if the developers at The Game Kitchen thought you wouldn’t understand the plot without it. Some of these explanations go back in time to even before the start of the first game, telling you how it all came to be. Having these spread around in notes, or random disjointed scenes throughout the season would’ve done a lot more for the storytelling and immersion.
One thing I will give The Game Kitchen is they’re masters in creepy and mysterious atmospheres. Everywhere you go, the creaks, the shadows and the sometimes-disharmonious sounds in the background will send chills up and down your spine. While The Last Door Season 1 didn’t accomplish it, Season 2 did manage to freak me out a couple of times, with a couple of jump-scares and a shift in musical direction. The Game Kitchen know how to build an atmosphere, how to take you along with them for the ride, keeping you right on the edge of fear, where you want to know more and discover the secrets that one room holds, but you’re dreading the scare that is coming.
I dig it!
Part of what makes the atmosphere so effective is the sound design. For the most part The Last Door is minimalist, with little to no music except for when it can transmit something to the player. A sad melody for a nearly abandoned village, a sombre tune in a nearly abandoned mansion, a sinister and very low-key piece while near a dark and ominous hole in the ground. All these melodies help you immerse yourself in the location, something that I consider a big achievement considering the very low-res graphics—which as they mention in their tagline are low res but high quality.
But it’s not only the writing and the music (or the surprisingly detailed environments) that make the atmosphere and the game work so well, but the fact the Game Kitchen married their puzzle design to their storytelling in The Last Door Season 2. Puzzles aren’t just about collecting items and using everything with everything, but about listening to even the ramblings of lunatics, reading poems and exploring the strange and even surreal environments. Every step in a puzzle causes a reaction, triggers a sequence and very often, this leads to another chilling sound or disturbing visual.
And best of all, the puzzles are challenging. Picking up the sometimes-subtle clues and finding what the messages mean will have you running around looking for that one place you found earlier but couldn’t effectively interact with because you didn’t have the right information. I loved this puzzle design.
The Last Door Season 2 builds up on the first season and delivers a powerful experience, filled with mysteries, horrors and secrets that every gamer should witness, even if it costs them their sanity!
5/5 – Hell Yes!