When one thing leans too closely on nostalgia to entertain, it’s usually an indication that it may’t stand by itself with out praying in your sentimentality. The Last Hero of Nostalgaia, satirically, is at its finest when it’s drumming up gags which can be humorous and intelligent even faraway from its always referential idea. This colorfully pixelated world is stuffed to the brim with little nods to some of probably the most iconic video games of all time in a approach that manages to remain contemporary by to the tip. That makes truly enjoying The Last Hero of Nostalgaia rather more enjoyable than it might be, as its marketing campaign is in any other case an inoffensive collection of checkpoint hunts with fight which may pay somewhat an excessive amount of of an homage to the Souls-family of video games.
The land of Nostalgaia is a dense tapestry of online game callbacks, with its totally different areas falling into low-poly despondency as a result of their heroes are not there to play out the varied tales that hold the place alive. Your hero, a literal stick determine, should convey recollections again to a world that’s shedding all of them at a gentle clip. That boils all the way down to touring to numerous factors and killing world bosses referred to as Great Ones, however there are various aesthetic decisions that assist spice this recognizable formulation up. Checkpoint “bonfires” are called beacons here, and when you light them, the 8-bit, 2D spaces surrounding them become fully textured 3D environments. The same transformation happens to the iconic gear you power up as well, and these are always fun scenes that I never skipped.
The Last Hero of Nostalgaia Screens
Last Hero isn’t fundamentally different from any action game you’ve played attempting to do a From Software impression. The risk/reward relationship between attacking and defending yourself from enemies at the expense of your stamina meter still marries comfortably with the gamble of pushing deeper and deeper down dangerous dungeon corridors, putting progress and currency on the line in hopes that a glowing checkpoint is around the corner and not some gnarly beast lying in wait to steal it all. As a person who’s played a lot of these, it didn’t take very long for the process to feel routine and familiar, and I quickly found myself wishing Last Hero would change the formula up in some significant way. It was a wish that was never granted across the roughly 10-hour journey.
Much of the action plays exactly like that methodical, stamina-based combat you’d expect from a soulslike, and many of the weapon animations are even pretty much identical to Dark Souls. Weapon variety feels very small in comparison though, with swords, greatswords, axes, and maces making up the bulk of the selection while spears and daggers round out the offensive choices. Though they come in various colorful forms, their functions are largely the same. For example, weapons have unlockable special attacks, but many of them share the same underwhelming spinning slash. Magical attacks called “source” are attention-grabbing, with strikes like a fast shuriken and a digital therapeutic herb, however I did not spend a lot time with it as my construct was largely bodily centered.
The world provides character to this in any other case tried and true construction.
The monsters you’ll be fighting come in many forms that constantly challenge your gameplan. From pretty basic knife-wielding rogues to hulking armored knights to evasive little forest goblins that turn into cardboard animals to hide from you, every zone has a new problem to solve. With the exception of one creature in particular that resembled Toad but as a sword-handed centaur, no single regular monster felt oppressive in the ways some Souls mini-bosses can feel. Bosses, of which there are very few, were reasonably tough, requiring some time to properly learn their tricky attack patterns and figure out the right time to strike. They come in some memorable shapes and sizes too, like a giant marauding beast made out of corpses or a dancing Buddha-like creature.
The post-apocalyptic world of Nostalgaia also adds some character to this otherwise tried and true structure in interesting ways, using a cool mix of 3D and pixelated graphics. Each region is full of its own secret corners and winding routes that double back on themselves to reveal shortcuts and the like. But the regions themselves connect to each other through a labyrinth of paths that are presented like a backstage area for NPCs to stage themselves, complete with break rooms and “motivational” posters meant to remind monsters to be scary and that their job is to be chaff for aspiring heroes. It’s a well-dressed option to take some sting off of the immense quantity of backtracking required to progress, however does not change the comfort of a quick journey system.
Much of the backtracking is normal locked-door-is-now-unlocked type of stuff, however the weapons and armor you collect by your journey current one other persistent temptation to retread previous steps. Every piece of gear you discover is in a diminished type, however should you take them to particular spots on the planet, you’ll be able to reignite them with the recollections of their former house owners and energy them up, elevating their stats and skills. A leather-based go well with of armor goes from wanting like its made of development paper to gaining a extra supple texture, depth of colour, and rounded type. A flat axe with a easy colour scheme features a metallic, light-reflecting sheen and acceptable heft. Last Hero correctly turns the trope of dumping cryptic lore onto an merchandise’s description right into a scavenger hunt too, with the story snippets being a clue to information you to the proper room or in entrance of a sure statue the place a specific merchandise’s improve level is positioned.
Cleverness apart, I discovered that a lot of my time spent fixing these little riddles was for objects that I by no means acquired a lot use out of afterwards. Sometimes it was just because they relied on stats that weren’t per my construct – however simply as usually new weapons and armor would really feel mechanically redundant with choices I already had, making their seems to be alone the principle distinguishing trait. Those aesthetics have been undoubtedly a motivating issue for some of my pursuits although, and weapon and armor units are frequently loud and proud references to basic recreation gear like Cloud’s Buster Sword or the rooster masks from Hotline Miami.
Last Hero has a very good sense of humor exterior of recreation references as nicely.
Last Hero has a very good sense of humor exterior of the ever-present recreation references as nicely. While I don’t assume I laughed out loud at any of its gags or one-liners, there’s a constantly jokey tone to the characters you meet and conditions you end up in that garnered loads of internal chuckles. The Narrator, a disembodied voice who is continually beside himself about how nicely you might be doing, was an enormous supply of humorous moments early on. Besides negging you throughout your journey, he’ll actively intervene at factors, making a bridge when there’s a niche too massive to cross, or dropping enemies and obstacles in your approach when he must show that you simply’re worse than your progress would recommend.
The polygons and plentiful meta references are the scaffolding that maintain the visible themes collectively, however Last Hero additionally does a terrific job at creating lovely vistas and harrowing landscapes by itself advantage that aren’t simply outright calls to another supply materials. I used to be significantly impressed with how creepy and unsettling some of the rooms, caves, and forests could possibly be just by utilizing good lighting or some nicely positioned low texture fashions. The Warlock Wilds are a spotlight, cloaked in a deep darkness with paths illuminated by good blue crystals, whereas endgame areas play with perspective and house in very memorable methods.
That stated, a couple of persistent technical points do Last Hero no favors. The lock-on function felt unwieldy throughout fight, seemingly concentrating on whomever it needed regardless of who my digital camera was on and the way shut the enemy was to me or the final one slain. In tight areas, the digital camera is usually a actual chore to compensate for, and has cemented a stable mistrust of hallway fights in me. These aren’t gamebreaking points, and you may be taught to work round them, however they’re annoyances all the identical.