25/06/2018

๐Ÿš€ Review: Last Encounter "A Good Title Made Great With Friends" ๐Ÿš€ #GameDev #IndieGame

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Game Title: Last Encounter
Developer: Exordium Games
Platform Reviewed:  PC (Steam)
Rating: Ice Cool
Last Encounter is the newest game from the studio that gave us the charming pseudo-noir adventure series ‘Bear With Me’, moving away from the point and click genre, Last Encounter is a top-down twin-stick shooter with support for up to four players (good) and a rogue-lite approach to level design. 


The background to the game is that most life on Earth has been decimated and your mission is to travel through galaxies in search of hope, blasting enemies along the way. The person in charge of guiding your pilots, Dr Connors, has a cloning machine in order to get a steady supply of ‘willing volunteers’ lined up for the mission as well as having various weapon and ship upgrades which can be purchased from the coins collected during your runs. The game has a large variety of weapon combinations that can be picked up on your travels and swapped mid-mission to suit your play style.
Sound-wise, the game has a sound track that ramps up in accordance with the amount of enemies ‘/ danger on-screen which gives a dynamic feel to the game play, taking you from the silence of space to a full-on firefight in seconds. The music switches from synth to crunchy guitar riffs but never feels out of place whilst graphically the game runs smoothly and all the important areas such as collision detection, frame-rate and visual effects are all crisp and enjoyable. 

Each galaxy also has its own distinct backgrounds and enemies which add further variety. Whilst the segments of each galaxy are randomly generated, they all have the same goal. You must flit between the ‘arenas’ (each section is blocked-off, although there is a fair amount of real estate to explore in each quadrant) and locate the three keys which then allow you to move onwards to the next galaxy.
As enjoyable as Last Encounter is, there are caveats. There is no save system in place, with each run resetting after your shields and health run out, spelling the end for your vessel. You then re-start as one of the afore-mentioned clones back at the base, where you can spend your hard-earned doubloons on the various upgrades before chancing your luck in the infinite blackness of space once more. This means that it’s not a game you can dip into for a few minutes, as you’ll need an hour or so to finish your run, earning enough to unlock helpful items to progress further on your next jaunt. 

It’s this aspect of Last Encounter that hinders it somewhat as it means you’ll be replaying the same initial sections over and over, something that the random-generation of levels can only cover up to a certain point. Naturally, if the game is played with friends, it massively adds value to the game and holds off  the repetition further due to the inherent fun in local co-op, this makes the game truly shine. These are all points that equally apply to Neon Chrome, which is a game in a similar vein with similar issues.
Summary
Last Encounter is a solid, well-designed game that I would have played a few times in single-player and enjoyed thoroughly but probably would have tired of in the end. Playing with friends however breathes a longevity and comradery into it that changes it completely, making it a great choice for a co-op session that you’ll return to over and over again.
I must also mention the difficulty spike that kicks in after the first galaxy, where it’s not just enemy ships that you have to keep your peepers out for, but poisonous plants, hidden spikes and dangerous gas clouds, 
IT…IS…HARD.
Right, I’m off to arrange another co-op night to tuck into this again, right after we beat the last boss in Neon Chrome, naturally…
❄️ RATING: ICE COOL ❄️
Ratings Explained
ICE COOL (Great Game Recommended)
MELTING (Recommended with reservations, one to consider if you are a fan of the genre)
MELTED (Not A Recommended Purchase)
 Review By Britt