Tuesday, 27 March 2018 18:44

REVIEW: Last Day of June (Nintendo Switch)

Written by StacefaceMayhem
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Fate or just a series of unfortunate events. People can be split into two categories when something goes wrong in our lives, either it was destined to happen, or a slight intervention along the path of time would have completely changed the overall outcome. How much of our lives do we solely have control over?

‘Last Day of June’ by 505 Games and Italian, independent studio Ovosonico is a puzzle game that had me uncomfortably contemplating my life for quite some time after completion when I played it back on PS4 in 2017, and still contemplating after a run through on the Nintendo Switch. If you've followed some of my other reviews, you’d know I really like games that remind me... I am alive and essentially, only human.

The tale introduces you to the devotedly love-struck couple, Carl and June. Carl seems content with his life, celebrating his happiness with his true love for an anniversary with a scenic view by the pier. As the day drags on, in rolls a storm foreshadowing his life to come. Tragically, June passes away, alone a wheelchair, bound Carl too familiarly mourns and thinks, could I have changed this outcome?

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Building on the well-known theory of the ‘Butterfly Effect’ (the beat of the wings of a butterfly could potentially cause a hurricane across the world theory, you know the one) Carl must relive June’s final day, and very much like the award-winning, German movie ‘Run Lola Run’ manipulate the lives and actions of the villagers in their quiet, quaint, little town. Unbeknownst to them, each action of the town may have had a positive or negative outcome to ‘that’ fateful day, and that is what makes this game scary. How often do we have a near miss in traffic and it wasn’t our fault, and we stop and think "WOW" how much does our life rely on others? What if I had been there five seconds earlier? What if that other driver hadn’t have spilled their coffee and were distracted in the first place? See what I mean reflection is frightening, and day to day life is terrifyingly unpredictable.

This game relies on emotions like that, to push it forward. The characters have no mouth or eyes, speak incoherent gibberish and are told no real backstory other than what we read into from their emotions. Every action in this game; which is essentially a point and click puzzler, evokes a response and tells a story. The sounds of hurting, excitement, disappointment from characters or the soundtrack for the scene, sets the premise of the mood, the relationships between the different characters and even how you the player should be feeling towards a situation.

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Not only is sound a strong conjurer of feeling but colour is also a glaring indicator of how Carl feels, even on the small screen of the Switch. The environments are oozing with charisma, with the world reminiscent of June’s hobbies; being the entirety of the game rendered like an arty watercolour, beautiful and full of life. Much like any classic painter the background blurs and fades off into the distance, also nodding it’s head to the similarity to memories dying into the abyss. Purply blue and yellowy orange hues contrast each scene, the darker colours being sad reminders of reality, while the light a sense of hope.

The game only runs in at about 3 hours to complete but after discovering it's the first ever game to be developed from the idea of a song, it can be understandable why the storyline is so short. I didn’t really mind, as the story was just so captivating I just wanted to keep playing to the end anyway. The song it is based off is Steve Wilson’s ‘Drive Home’ believe me it is worth a look at, in itself.

Now, normally I prefer to play Switch games in handheld mode, for clearer graphics and better controls, however since this game has little gameplay really, other than walking around and solving puzzles, I found the pro controller more than adequate. I also liked having it run docked on the big screen TV with the better resolution (which is pretty much across all Switch games when docked), as the cinematics and storytelling experience was that much better. It was like sitting and watching a movie play out in front of you.

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My only frustration with the gameplay was the inability to skip cutscenes, I understood the game wanted you to know your repercussions, but when you did the same thing again accidently it can be frustrating to watch it all over again. Mind you if you could skip them I would completed the game even quicker, because most puzzles didn’t take more than a few minutes to figure out.

Overall, ‘Last Day of June is playfully sincere, enchanting and a stark reminder of how we deal with the processes of pain emotionally. Each step of the way, we feel for Carl, we want him to achieve, be happy once again, right down to the gut wrenching ending. Will it be fate that brings you to this game or a series of events initiated by this review? The ball is in your court. Sincerely MKAU.

Additional Info

  • Review Score: 4.0 / 5.0
  • Release Date: Out Now
  • Platform: PC, PS4, Nintendo Switch
  • Developer: Ovosonico
  • Publisher: 505 Games
  • Genre: Adventure, Puzzle