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Last Day of June

Score: 78%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: 505 Games
Developer: Ovosonico
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure/ Puzzle/ Family

Graphics & Sound:

From the onset after first booting up the game, an immediate puzzled look came across my face while I quickly wondered what I had gotten myself into. You see, Last Day of Juneís opening scene instantly comes across as a "kiddie" game with the silliness of no dialogue, accompanied by giggling and what I can only describe as a Japanese-style anime. You guessed it, I hate anime, but this isnít anime. It was just the feeling I got. However, I quickly realized that despite the intro, the style that Last Day of June presents works perfectly well and is very fitting for the content within.

The visuals of Last Day of June are actually outstanding. Characters are presented as eyeless figures that are far from faceless. Each and every one of them is presented in a way that can pull you into their personal experiences, whether they are there to save the day or cause immediate havoc on the situation. Additionally, the environments really enhance the overall experience. The painterly style of all environmental elements coincides with the fact that the main characterís wife was a painter.

Animations for the characters are a bit simplistic, but once again seem to fit, given the overall style of the game. I will say, however, the animations added to the "kiddie" feel of the game, in addition to the sound previously mentioned. The voice acting is extremely simplistic in nature, but the way it was presented had no bearing on the lack of language involved. In fact, this omission actually allows multiple cultures to enjoy the game without the need for vocals or subtitles. Throughout the entire game, you will know exactly what each character is thinking.


Gameplay:

Last Day of June is billed as a being an "emotional drama" and, while that may be taking it a bit too far, it certainly will draw up some emotions from within. As mentioned, the painterly style and the lack of dialogue offer an artistic approach to driving the gameplay without dialogue. This unique presentational method works well for this game, and after playing through it, I canít imagine it any differently. The premise of the game is that there was an accident which takes the life of our main characterís wife. What we see as events unfold is that the accident is the unfortunate result of a series of events that take place within the game.

Awakening from a dream, the husband (the main character) finds himself in a wheelchair and remembering his late wife and the times they had. In his misery, he ventures into the art room of their house and discovers that his wifeís paintings are magical. The paintings are of different residents of the small village they live in, and by touching each of them, the husband is able to see and change what happened on that fateful day from the vantage point of each character in the art work.

For example, the game starts by taking control of the resident child. This boy begins his journey from his treehouse that contains a kite and a soccer ball. Following the given path, we find out that the boyís ball ends up on the road and as he goes to retrieve it, the husband and wifeís car veers off the road. You see, youíll work with the environment and character interactions to drive each part of the story. Without going into more detail and spoiling the game, the story follows the old man as he adjusts each charactersí paths in an effort to avoid the inevitable crash that kills his wife.


Difficulty:

Last Day of June is not a hard game at all. The simplistic controls and the relatively straightforward storyline make for an easy game. But then again, this title was not meant to be a challenge. Instead, it is meant to be a deep emotional experience and it does just that.

There is a bit of thought that has to go into solving some of the puzzles, but in comparison with some games out there, it is pretty mild and straightforward. Where a person may get slightly tripped up is that the game is, to a degree, a title that will let you continue to choose the wrong path over and over again. However, when you see the progression not, well, progressing, it is easy to see that another method is needed. That said, each character really only has a couple of options to fulfill so one could actually figure the game out by process of elimination. The characters interactions with either other, do, however, have an impact. Either way, the story progresses nicely as you continue down a path toward redemption.


Game Mechanics:

Interactions are extremely simple in nature. Youíll control each of the characters depicted in paintings with the simple navigation controls, coupled by a run command and a single-button interaction. This allows for anyone to pick up and play Last Day of June from the onset. Because of this, hardcore gamers may be at first turned off, but I suspect that an appreciation for the game will actually play a part midway through.

Last Day of June promises and delivers gameplay that can keep gamers engaged, even if for a brief moment in time. Its use of the Groundhog Day effect isnít exactly unique, but at the same time, is done in a way that is intriguing the whole way through. This is not a long game, by any means, and as long as you go into it knowing that youíre looking at maybe 3-5 hours of gameplay, Last Day of June is an exceptional experience that certainly will tug at your heartstrings.

EDITOR'S NOTE: It needs to be noted that at the time of its release, I was unable to reload saves from Last Day of June on my computer. This was not an isolated instance, judging by the forums, but it also did not occur for everyone. We held off on the initial review (and did a preview instead) to give the developers at 505 Games/Ovosonico time to respond and fix this issue. Time came and went with personal interaction, but without word of a fix, so we decided to proceed and post the review anyway. At some point, however, loading saves began working, but I have to note this terrible user experience. Because of this, Iíve reduced the score by 10 points for the fact that people have reported not being able to load saves and it would be impossible to recommend a broken game. The workaround required an entire single-session play through to complete the game (even if only a few hours long).

-Woody, GameVortex Communications
AKA Shane Wodele

Minimum System Requirements:



Windows 7/8 (64-bit OS required); Intel Core i3 / AMD A6 @ 3.06GHz or higher; 4GB RAM; Nvidia GeForce 750Ti / AMD Radeon R9 270x or better; DirectX 11; 3 GB HDD Space; 100% DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card
 

Test System:



Windows 10 Pro 64-bit; Intel Core i7-5930K CPU @ 3.50GHz (12 CPUs); 32GB RAM; nVidia GeForce GTX 980; Xbox One Controller

Related Links:



Windows Spellforce 3

 
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