The Last Door was released on PC way back in March 2013, after a successful crowdfunding drive. Originally launching in an episodic format, each of which was again crowdfunded, the Complete Edition is finally now finding space on Xbox One. The Last Door – Complete Edition, as the name suggests, includes both Seasons of episodes to play, in addition to some short stories that flesh out the main story; there’s no shortage of content promised. With a story that takes the writings of Edgar Allen Poe and H. P. Lovecraft as inspiration, the scene is set for a spooky adventure. So come with me into a world of Victorian horror and suspense to see if the game holds up today!
The opening of The Last Door is certainly memorable, as we guide a tortured soul, Anthony Beechworth, through a series of actions culminating in him hanging himself! After this startling beginning to the narrative, we’re introduced to a childhood friend of Beechworth, Jeremiah DeWitt, who is the hero and protagonist of the first season. Upon hearing the news of his demise, via a letter that the dead man sent before popping his clogs, DeWitt travels to Beechworth’s home in an attempt to find out what happened, and whether it had anything to do with a secret society they formed at a boarding school as children.
The game plays out as an old school point and click adventure, a genre that I for one don’t think we see enough of on the Xbox. Each room of the house or outdoor section is loaded in as a whole, and it is your job to find items on the screen that can be interacted with. These may be people, letters, or objects to pick up, and in true point and click style, the cursor that you control on the screen changes when you move over an item that can be looked at, used and so on. Helpfully, a quick press of the “Y” button will highlight all of the items that can be interacted with on the screen, which helps to reduce the random clicking that these games can sometimes devolve into.
Reading letters and articles helps to build a background narrative as you go through the episodes, and what a narrative it is, which journeys to other worlds, mental issues and monsters all appearing. Items that can be picked up are indicated by the cursor changing to a hand, and these form the basis of the puzzles that litter the episodes. For instance, in a later segment, you have to find two pieces of a key, join them together and then find out where to stick them. The puzzles on offer here get progressively harder as the episodes go on, as the developing team, The Game Kitchen, appear to find their stride as The Last Door moved forward. They are certainly challenging, but with an application of lateral thinking can be solved without too much mental anguish. However, thanks to the wonders of 2019, there may also be a number of helpful walkthroughs scattered across the internet…
Doors can also be interacted with, and in a cool bit of forward thinking, if you have already opened a door, you can fast travel to the next area by double clicking the “A” button, which saves time as you criss cross the locations in order to solve puzzles. And there’s certainly a lot of backtracking, especially in Season 2, where a “world map” is introduced, allowing you to travel to many different locations in order to advance the narrative.
Graphically, and things are certainly on the retro end of the scale with blocky, pixelated visuals – but please don’t be put off by that. As the story is other-worldly and strange, the graphical style actually helps with this sensation of things not looking or feeling quite right, doing a very good job of portraying the emotions and even the inner turmoil of the character they depict. As an experience they add to the feeling of dread that builds up through the episodes as each season approaches a climax.
Sound wise the game has quite a lot of reliance on specific effects to solve some puzzles, and as such they do the job very well. It’s sometimes a bit hard to tell the difference between the sound of the sea and the wind, for instance, but with a bit of application and a good headset strapped on, it becomes easier. The music deserves a special mention too, with haunting, beautiful orchestral tracks throughout that complement the feeling of the game perfectly.
The Last Door – Complete Edition is an intriguing addition to the point and click catalogue on Xbox One. The story is much darker than other games in the genre, with an almost palpable feeling of dread creeping up on you as you uncover each twist and turn in the story. It never turns into an out and out horror title, despite the appearance of monsters later on, and the narrative is much more subtle than a usual horror experience would be.
I thoroughly enjoyed this game though and the pacing makes a nice change from the norm, having to think about what to do next providing a welcome mental exercise. The graphics won’t be to the taste of all, but they do enhance rather than detract from the overall vibe and so if you have an interest in storytelling that leaves more to your imagination and suggestion, rather than depicting the horror on the screen, The Last Door – Complete Edition is the game for you.