When something relies too heavily on nostalgia to keep you entertained, it’s often a sign that it can’t stand on its own without praying for your sentimentality. You’re at your best when you’re running a gag that’s funny and clever even if you’re away from the concept you’re doing. This colorful, pixelated world is filled with little nods to some of the most iconic games of all time in a way that keeps it fresh until the end. It’s a series of non-aggressive checkpoint hunts with combat that might be paying a little too much tribute to the game of Nostalgia, so actually playing the final hero of Nostalgaia is a lot more than actually playing it. It’s fun to
The Land of Nostalgia is a dense tapestry of video game callbacks, with various regions plunged into low-poly dejection. Because the heroes are no longer there to develop different stories that keep the place alive. Your hero, a literal stickman, must restore memory to a world that is losing all of its memories. It boils down to traveling to different points and defeating world bosses called the Great Ones, but there are many aesthetic choices to help spice up this famous formula. Checkpoint bonfires are called beacons here. When you light this up, the 8-bits of his 2D space surrounding them becomes his fully textured 3D environment. The same changes happen to the iconic gear that powers up, and these are always fun scenes I never skipped.
The Last Hero of Nostalgia
Last Hero isn’t fundamentally different from any action game you’ve played trying to impress From Software. The risk/reward relationship between defending against enemies and attacking at the expense of your stamina meter pushes you deeper and deeper into perilous dungeon passages, scouring your progress and currency in hopes of a glowing checkpoint nearby. It is still comfortably associated with the gambling of betting. Not a dangerous beast waiting to steal everything. As someone who’s played many of these, it didn’t take long for the process to feel routine and familiar, and I immediately wished Last Hero changed the formula in some significant way. It was a wish that could not be fulfilled during the 10-hour trip.
Much of the action plays out exactly like the orderly, stamina-based combat you’d expect from a Soullike, and much of the weapon animation is pretty much the same as in Dark Souls. but swords, greatswords, axes, and maces make up the bulk of the selection, with spears and daggers rounding out the offensive options. They come in different colorful shapes, but their functions are mostly the same. Weapons, for example, have unlockable special attacks, but many of them share the same crushing spinning slash. and so on, but I didn’t spend much time on it because the build was mostly physically focused.
The monsters you fight come in many forms that will always challenge your game plan. Every zone has a new problem to solve, right down to the epic little forest goblins. Not a single normal monster felt oppressed in the way. The very few bosses are pretty tough, and it took me some time to properly learn their tricky attack patterns and find the right time to attack them. There are also some memorable shapes and sizes, such as.
The post-apocalyptic world of Nostalgia uses a cool combination of 3D and pixelated graphics to add some characters in interesting ways to an otherwise tried and true structure. The region is full of its own secret corners and winding routes, doubling them up to reveal shortcuts and more. However, the regions themselves are connected to each other via labyrinthine pathways that are presented like backstage areas for NPCs to stage themselves. Complete with break rooms and “motivational” posters to remind you that monsters are scary and that monsters’ job is chaff. To the hero of your dreams. It’s a good way to mitigate the enormous amount of backtracking required to progress, but it doesn’t replace the convenience of a high-speed travel system.
Much of the backtracking is standard, like locked doors now unlocked, but the weapons and armor you’ve collected throughout your journey present another persistent temptation to redo old steps. All gears you find are in reduced form, but if you take them to specific locations in the world, you can rekindle them with the memories of their previous owners to power them up and increase their stats and abilities. The leather armor changes from looking like drawing paper to a more supple texture, depth of color, and rounded form. The simple color scheme of the Flat Ax has a metallic sheen that reflects light and a moderate weight. Last Hero cleverly turns the trope of ramming arcane lore into item descriptions into a scavenger hunt for him, and story snippets can be found in the right room or in front of a particular statue with upgrade points for a particular item. A clue to guide you.
Cleverness aside, it turns out that a lot of the time I spent solving these little riddles was spent on items that weren’t very useful after that. In some cases, it simply relied on stats that didn’t match my build, but I often felt that the new weapons and armor mechanically duplicated the options I already had. These aesthetics were definitely a motivating factor in my pursuit, and the weapon and armor sets were similar to Cloud’s Buster Sword or Hotline Miami’s Chicken Mask. Proud references to classic gaming gear like the one are made regularly.
Last Hero has a great sense of humor beyond the ubiquitous gaming references. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed out loud at a gag or one-liner, but the characters and situations I encounter consistently have a tongue-in-cheek tone that gathers a lot of inner laughter. He was an unembodied voice that was always by his side about how things were going and was a great source of funny moments early on. and build bridges when gaps are too big to cross, or drop enemies and obstacles that get in your way when you need to prove you’re worse than your progress suggests. .
Polygons and rich meta references are the scaffolding that holds the visual theme together, but Last Hero excels not only in blatantly invoking other source material, but also in creating beautiful and harrowing landscapes to their own merits. I was particularly struck by how spooky and unsettling some of the rooms, caves and forests can be, just with proper lighting and well-placed low-textured models. Warlock Wild is the highlight, shrouded in deep darkness with pathways lit by bright blue crystals. On the other hand, the final space plays out perspective and space in a very memorable way.
That said, some persistent technical issues don’t work in Last Hero’s favor. The lock-on feature feels awkward in combat and seems to target whoever I want regardless of who the camera is pointed at or how close the enemy is to me or the last killed enemy. In tight spaces, the camera can be a real chore to make up for, solidifying a distrust of hallway fights in me. You can learn to deal with it without it, but it’s still annoying.