The Last Door

Ever since I was a child I had an interest in horror- or occult-stories, books and movies. I think most of you would agree if I say that’s typical for a young human being that widens its horizon every day but can’t figure out why darkness is so much more uncomfortable yet exciting than daylight. Even now as a grown up I love Lovecraft and Poe, but also modern representatives of this genre, for example Hohlbein, and it still catches me when there is something you try to imagine but you can’t figure out what it looks like. As the famous H.P.Lovecraft said:

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”

So, enough of an introduction, let’s have a look at the game you came to read about here.

The Last Door is a Point-and-Click Adventure that is set in the 1890s in Victorian England, a time when science was already established but ancient beliefs and a secret organisations such as the freemasons were well known among the people. You get in touch with Jeremiah Devitt, a man in the mid-thirties who received a strange letter from his childhood friend Alexander Beechworth. Not knowing how to deal with this, Jeremiah decides to visit Alexander, unraveling the mysteries about his whereabouts and his family. But that may be only the start for a journey that will lead you to places of Jeremiah’s childhood and past that have been forgotten for some reason. It seems like an ancient evil is making its way back into your life…

I can’t write any further without spoiling but you should already feel how this story will suck you in, not releasing you until finished. A man gets snatched from his everyday life right into a victorian nightmare, how much more lovecraftian could it be? This game relies solely on its mysterious plot and manages this with two main attributes: Sound and Style. When I first saw some screenshots of this game before playing the first Episode “The Letter”, I couldn’t imagine how this pixelated art would manage to give me the creeps or offer details I need to make myself comfortable. But this game did not only manage to revive my passion for retro-styled games, it simply worked out what my introductive quote should show – that fear of the unknown is the strongest one. It feels like the devs from The Game Kitchen simply built a framework from what a scene could look like and relied on the player’s imagination to make it a truly living and frightening place. Colours are not mixed up, no they are shaded differently to create a certain mood like the warmth of a living hall.

Carlos Viola. After listening to “Crows over the City”, which is the main theme of The Last Door, you will likely want to know what the composer’s name is. Don’t thank me for that, thank him for creating this game’s amazing classical music. Every aspect of this game gets pushed by its clever and well written tones and also sound effects, whether its the creeping dark or a simple wave along the old English coast.

Owning a mouse is key for this game since you don’t need any other instruments. You have an inventory at the bottom screen, containing everything you will find and need to interact with other objects. The puzzles are logic-based and really challenging sometimes and it gets tough if you haven’t found the right object yet. This didn’t happen often to me but it might also happen to you so I should mention that. There is no hint system and no button press will highlight any useful items but your cursor will switch from a cross to a lens if you can look, or a hand if you can take or interact with something.

Big Text, Quick Facts:

Pro:

  • Interesting setting of Victorian England
  • Story is heavily influenced by the work of Lovecraft and Poe
  • Pixel Art activates and stimulates the player’s imagination
  • One of the best soundtracks I have ever listened to
  • Puzzles aren’t challenging but some are really unique (just wait for chapter 3 and you’ll see) and also well implemented without letting you feel that this is only a game
  • Well dosed scares mixed with an ubiquitous sense of fear and evil
  • Collector’s Edition contains Bonus Scenes that aren’t available on Game Kitchens Website, providing you with even more background knowledge

Con:

  • Love it or hate it – Pixel Art
  • Puzzles start to get annoying if you can’t find the right object to interact with

Summary:

You might have already recognised that I love this game. But besides my own opinion you can’t really go wrong with The Last Door. Its graphics and sound make up for a great journey into a story that even Lovecraft himself would call a masterpiece. If you are not sure about it, enter thelastdoor.com and check out the first episode “The Letter” for free. If you liked it, do yourself a favor and enjoy the enhanced textures, sounds and bonus content of the Collector’s Edition on Steam.

This game is nearly perfect in what it tries to be so my rating becomes a 9/10.