Picture this: You’re at the end of your journey. All you’ve been through, all the hurdles and setbacks, everything was worth it because you’re almost there. And, right before the end, you get distracted by a bird, which causes you to miss your goal, and you end up lost and alone. That’s how it all begins in The Last Campfire, an adventure and puzzle game developed by Hello Games.
Sure, the story sounds silly if I put it that way, but it’s actually quite the opposite. The Last Campfire has a rich story, filled with adventure, hope, and many many puzzles. Right from the start, you feel alone, confused, and facing death. Moving forward only gives you more questions, and no matter where you are you feel like someone is watching you. That’s because someone is literally following and watching you.
You play as an Ember, a cute little creature with one mission: To go where all the lost Embers go when their light begins to fade. Easier said than done, especially because you don’t really know where you are or where you’re supposed to go. So you do what everyone in that situation does: you start looting a dead body and solve some puzzles.
Soon after you wake up, you find your first campfire, with a friendly ghost in it. The ghost explains what’s going on, and tells you that the Forrest King is blocking your path. If you want to move on, you’ll have to help the Forlons and guide them to their homes too.
The Forlons are basically lost Embers. They’re scared, forgotten, and left for dead in a “Place between places”. You’re the only Ember who can save them, mostly because the other ones don’t really care that much.
Throughout your journey, you’ll mostly control Ember, and you'll use them to move around objects, solve puzzles, and clear paths. Controlling them is pretty straightforward: you either tap on the place you want them to go, or you use a joystick to move them around. Personally, I’d recommend using the digital joystick, or a Bluetooth controller. The camera angle and depth perception in the game makes it a bit hard to point exactly where you want to go sometimes.
If you love puzzles, The Last Campfire is perfect for you. Puzzles are a dime a dozen in this game. Do you want to go to a new place? You’ll have to solve a puzzle first. Do you need to save a Forlon? There’s a puzzle waiting for you. Sometimes, your reward for beating a puzzle is another puzzle.
Having so many puzzles means you’ll have a few that are a bit dull. There are some puzzles where you have to go back and forth to clear the way, which makes the gameplay repetitive. Fortunately, there’s only a handful of them.
The other puzzles are rather fun and easy to solve. Of course, there are a few that are hard to solve, but once you understand what you need to do, you’ll figure it out in no time.
The other big aspect of The Last Campfire is exploration, and that’s one of the best parts. There’s a lot to find in this world, and a bunch of different characters to meet and help. Every area is filled with different characters, flora, fauna, and secrets.
These secrets come in the form of Forlons and chests. Chests aren’t required to progress through the game, but they do contain pieces of the traveler’s journal. These pieces help you understand how the traveler sees the world and why they chose to do what they did. Sounds intriguing, right? That’s what you're missing out if you don't explore.
Every different area you visit feels new and different from the other ones. The different sceneries you see are colorful and vibrant when they need to, and dark and ominous when they have to.
Even the Forlons, which are basically all the same, and kind of similar to The Traveler from Journey, have different personalities, fears, and insecurities. The only way you can learn what they’ve been through is by saving them. You understand why they’re stuck there, and why some of them don’t want to be saved at all.
But all the areas and characters you meet wouldn’t be the same without the game’s narrator. Throughout the whole game, the only voice you’ll hear is that of the narrator, who explains what’s going on and does the voices for the other characters. And I’m glad to say Hello Games made the right choice with this one.
But when you combine the narrator’s voice with the scenery and the ambient music, you get a much better experience that immerses you on another level. It makes the story more compelling and makes you want to keep going just to find out more, or just to listen to that soothing narrator's voice.
Overall, The Last Campfire is a joy to play and a game you should experience for yourself. Even if it does have some puzzles that can be repetitive and even frustrating, the great storyline, combined with awesome visuals and amazing narration makes this game worthy of your time.Of course, if puzzle games aren't your thing, there are dozens of other games for you to try. If you need a little help, here's our massive list of every game available on Apple Arcade, and what you need to know about them.