Creepshow: A Review Of The Last Door

a1

It’s hilarious to think that I find a game as dark and macabre as The Last Door to be utterly delightful and wonderous.

With pixels the size of postage stamps, The Last Door manages to evoke more feelings of sadness, mystery, and suspense than most horror games. Granted, it’s more psychological thriller than outright horror, but the feelings and the intensity are the same. There’s even a marketing push for the game that cites comparisons to the work of a well-known horror author, but that’s just lazy shorthand–The Last Door offers much more in the richness of its presentation.

The game is broken into episodes, with the first being centered around a suicide. The mystery deepens from there as the player then tries to find out what lead to that unfortunate outcome, and each subsequent episode uncovers a host of details that are all equally beguiling. Nothing seems to add up, which only helps develop the plot across the different episodes in a very effective way.

One thing I found interesting about the puzzles in the game was how they interplayed with the narrative. I initially felt like the game had pacing issues, but in hindsight, I don’t think that’s the case at all. For instance, there are times that you are backtracking through a room, but the third time through it suddenly fills with crows, and every surface is bathed in either blood red or black colors. It’s ridiculous and unsettling, but it’s developments like this that drive the entire energy of the game. They introduce a certain supernatural element, letting you know that this is no ordinary mystery.

a2

Another amazing touch is that not all of the story is even presented graphically. There are several stretches where you hear questionable and potentially horrific sounds–but no scene plays out, but no action is taken by the player. It’s just… sounds.

As you play through this kind of scene, your mind and heart race; you’re fraught with intrigue, and you start to feel desperate to find a solution so you can advance the story. This adds to the tension in a way that most games can’t, and it drives you forward through the narrative in a way that a mere sense of accomplishment cannot. It’s not about reflexes, it’s about thought, and that execution in The Last Door is superb.

Mystery is what adventure games do best, and it’s exciting to see so many of them take advantage of the medium. The intricacies of The Last Door’s story are numerous, and they coalesce nicely with the rest of the narrative leaving a truly compelling and wonderful game in their wake.