The Last Shot: Review


This game was reviewed on PC.

Reviewed by:  Oskar van der Vliet

The Last Shot is a game developed by the small studio Rumata lab, and was released on the 16th of February 2023. It is a 2D puzzle platformer set in a fairly evocative "diesel punk" world as described in their steam description. Solve simple puzzles as you explore this war torn world with your three tools, a wrench, a hammer and your bare hands. 

The game opens wordlessly telling all story and UI through simple images rather than text in a fairly cute though unassuming way. Then youre are thrown into the gameplay immediately, where a short tutorial of the different ways you can interact with the world plays. You have your hands to drag things and press buttons, a wrench to fix and activate machinery and a hammer to break things. The mechanical simplicity is absolutely at this game's benefit, creating a more streamlined experience, and making engaging with the puzzles a lot less tedious. Though before you get through any of that you will be well acquainted with the beautiful art, which is certainly the most striking part of the game. The intricate art and rendering is really impressive and potentially worth the buy in just for that. It grants setting that extra special feeling that puts other similar things to shame. The detail of every pipe, wire, stain, and worn down cement absolutely adds to the experience and partly becomes it. While on the topic of presentation, the music can't really be awarded those same accolades though it's not as if it's offensive in any way either. Just simple videogame-y songs that kind of slip into the background until it becomes white noise.

But once you stop marvelling at the detailed art, you start actually playing the game. Now here is where I confess that I did find myself reading some of the steam reviews of this game as it was downloading. The game has been awarded "mixed reviews" and a large amount of the complaints wagered against it seemed to be about the gameplay. And I really don't understand? The gameplay is nothing that unique that's for sure but most puzzle platformers aren't. Inside, Unraveled, Limbo, and other games like that were incredibly well received despite samey and overall just fine puzzles. And this isn't to trash those games, but rather to illustrate that people are a lot more willing to give benefit of the doubt to games that have done really well or are famous as opposed to really small indie releases like that. And there are aspects to those games that are done better than this, like the added complexity of the string in unravelling or the mind control in Inside, but even when thinking of it like that, The Last Shot has its wrench and hammer mechanics. So I bring all this up to say that yes, this game doesn't do too much unique, if you have played any of those games I mentioned or any similar to them this will be familiar territory but that's fine.

Though I should probably speak on the gameplay on its own terms as well. Most puzzles are pretty simple, Dragging objects, rotating pipes, and other such things. My favourite have easily been some pipe related ones like a puzzle right at the beginning that used the detailed art as a mechanic, having you identify which pipe is connected to what. The game has a hint system, where if you take a little too long to figure out what to do you can bring up a thought bubble image of the things you need to interact with. I've found it pretty helpful in those times I was lost, though the hints can be a little cryptic themselves. Although maybe some of them were a little too easy, there was a puzzle I liked about turning on lights from different wires but the moment I figured out how it works I accidentally completed it within 10 seconds of mindless button mashing. But that did start to fade in the latter half of the game. The weakest part of the game are certainly the platform challenges. The game doesn't control poorly by any means, but the platforming isn't its strong suit so any challenges with deadly pipes or falls feel pretty out of place, especially since they really are not frequent enough to feel like a significant part of the game compared to the puzzles. But due to pretty forgiving respawn points and quick loading makes them just a bit bland rather than infuriating.

Overall I had a good time with the game. It was certainly nothing extraordinary though I find myself wanting to root for the underdog so to speak, especially after seeing the pretty poor response on steam. I give the game a potentially bit too generous 4 out of 5 stars. Aside from the art it's nothing special, but to be fully honest most videogames are nothing special, and if a small studio can put this together in what looks like their second release, I think that should be rewarded. 

Reviewed by: Oskar van der Vliet