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Game Info:

The Last Sky
Developed By: Little Guy Games
Published By: Little Guy Games
Released: February 28, 2020 (Early Access)
Available On: macOS, Windows
Genre: Adventure
ESRB Rating: Not Rated
Number of Players: single player
Price: $8.99

Thank you, Little Guy Games, for sending us a review code!

People are starting to use the medium of video games to get certain points across or tell stories that a picture or video otherwise could not. There has been a big influx of these narrative-driven games coming out. The Last Sky is an adventure hybrid by Little Guy Games. It is one part platformer and one part “point-and-click.”

The Last Sky starts with a view of a forest at night. The camera moves through the trees and spots a man wearing the skin of a hooved animal, while another man sleeps beside him. The man wearing the animal skin is constantly beating a drum while keeping warm by the fire. The next scene is a man explaining through text that he is on a journey to cure his PTSD, and he has to speak to a shaman for his first task. The scene following that is a boy, shrunken down on a piano while he walks on the keys. It seems to have been a dream as now an elderly man wakes up after an unseen woman calls for him. This man is named Jake.

As Jake, you can move around the room in a 3D space, interacting with the various items throughout the room. At Jake’s desk, he has a collection of books—most of which are either educational, historical, or philosophical in nature. He also has a piano, which requires a key to unlock, a grandfather clock that isn’t working, a cellar door with a lock, and an old-timey record player that is missing its vinyl. Pictures and photos are hung throughout the room while a younger-sounding Jake narrates about the memory. When looking through the room, broken pieces of a toy airplane can be found, but why is the toy broken in the first place? Throughout the serene sounds of nature such as the chirping of the birds, there is something strange about the room that Jake has awoken into.

The Last Sky
Highlights:

Strong Points: Touches upon topics seldom talked about; platforming segments are whimsical 
Weak Points: Obtaining the endings is strange as there is a “third bad ending” that acts as a game over; a rather short experience
Moral Warnings: Language, ranging from “h*ll” to “b**ch”; blasphemous language; a shaman character appears periodically; certain other spoiler-sensitive topics (explained further below)

Not everything is as it seems. Jake is, after all, trying to cure his PTSD. Soon, events start to take a turn for the weird. The subject of mental health will always be a touchy subject to tackle because not all mental issues are the same. They are also rarely talked about as it makes people feel uncomfortable. People suffering from mental disorders or illnesses have a hard time receiving help because their way of thinking (for the most part) prevents them from seeking out help. It’s also hard for “normal” people to relate to their issues because they have never experienced what the recipient is going through. As things continue to get strange, you’ll find more about Jake’s issues and how he feels about the events in his life.

The 2.5D sections are easily the most visually impressive The Last Sky has to offer. They are platforming segments that peek into Jake’s past—perhaps into a time where he was happier. One area has him scaling what appears to be the inside of a clocktower, and another has a massive tree, as bright as fluorescent lights. In some of these sections, there are these orange and purple lights that look like stars and flutter like fireflies. Touching the purple one sends you upward and the orange one sends you forward or backward horizontally. The platforming is not difficult; however, it controls fluidly and soaring through the skies by these lights may invoke Jake’s sense of freedom during his younger days or his love for aviation.

Music isn’t played very often, but when it is, it usually takes classical pieces and inserts them into scenes, such as Nocturne op.9 No.2 by Chopin. Other than that, sound either comes from Jake walking, Jake’s inner monologues that are voiced, and when touching the aforementioned purple and orange lights.

The Last Sky

Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 74%
Gameplay 13/20
Graphics 7/10
Sound 8/10
Stability 4/5
Controls 5/5

Morality Score - 82%
Violence 9/10
Language 5/10
Sexual Content10/10
Occult/Supernatural 7/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical 10/10

There are a few moral warnings to speak of. There is some language in text sections, such as “h*ll” a few times. The word “b**ch* can also be seen when interacting with the Soul-Comm electronic device on Jake’s desk, when you respond “goal” to it. Near the end, God’s name is used in vain in one of the dialogue choices. At the beginning of the game, Jake mentions that he has to see a shaman and he does encounter said shaman a few times.

There are more moral warnings, but many of them go into spoiler territory. Halfway through the game, you encounter the image of a burning boy, covered in 2nd and 3rd-degree burns. You encounter this boy at the end of the game as well and you find out that he is the visual representation of Jake’s grief. The toy plane represents Jake’s involvement in an unnamed war. As a soldier, Jake was forced to kill innocent men, women, and children in a carpet bombing—which is the driving force of Jake’s PTSD. His guilt over the atrocities he committed in the past eats away at him and prevents him from being happy. What I believe is that Jake is actually on his death bed and everything that is happening in his mind is him trying to absolve himself. After speaking with the burned boy, there are two choices given; either the “boy” forgives Jake, meaning that Jake learns to forgive himself and peacefully drifts into the afterlife. Or that the “boy” burns Jake, meaning that Jake himself doesn’t see himself as worth saving and proceeds to burn in Limbo for an eternity.

Rarely do I end a game left with more questions than answers. Truthfully, I don’t know how to feel about The Last Sky. It brings forward mental issues, namely PTSD, in hopes that either people who are suffering from it can learn to cope with it in a healthier method or people who don’t have it have a better understanding of people who do. The visuals are simple, yet appealing, and the evolving narrative keeps you in to see to the end. The ending is rather vague (which may have been done on purpose) and depending on your choices, you can reach the only non-standard game over, not being able to obtain any ending. The experience is rather short, with both endings taking less than two hours to reach. As of this review, The Last Sky is in Early Access, with feedback influencing future content. Maybe when the full game releases, I’ll have a more concrete feeling. If you like narrative-based video games, it’s one of the better ones out there at least.

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Cinque Pierre

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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