Sometimes you want a game that blows you off your feet and sucks you into its rich, action-packed content. Sometimes you want a game like Last Day of June.
It's not action-packed. It's not fast-paced. But, it's rich in story, emotive, and clever, offering up an excellent narrative adventure that you can't help but feel drawn into.C'mon, jump in my car
From the first few moments in the game, when you meet June and Carl, you know that something foreboding is waiting to pull on your heart strings.
Everything is bright and happy, our two protagonists have a wonderful relationship, June has some exciting baby-related news to tell Carl, and they head off on a nice journey to the lakeside.
That's when tragedy strikes, you get into a car accident, and wake in the dark, wheelchair-bound and without June by your side.
When exploring the rest of the house, however, June's old paintings are far more magical than you realised. Interacting with them lets you control each person that would've been involved in her death, such as the little boy you had to swerve around in the road.
By playing through their stories of that fateful day and changing out the way things happened, you cause a butterfly effect that could lead to saving June's life.
Though it's a slow game with lots of walking, watching cinematics, and figuring out the solutions to puzzles, it's been done in such a way that makes it widely accessible.
As there's no dialogue or text and the characters just interact with each other using garbled, Sim-like sounds and actions, it doesn't matter what language you speak. In the end you understand what's going on.
That's even more impressive considering the characters look like something right out of a Tim Burton or Henry Selick film. Though, after finding out that Jess Cope (Frankenweenie) was behind the wheel, this makes more sense.
This minimal aesthetic works with the detailed environment to complement the game on so many levels. None of the characters have eyes, but they don't need them.
Accompanied by music from Steve Wilson, his song 'Drive Home' actually inspired the game, everything works harmoniously to deliver a somber, hearty experience that makes you feel all sorts of feelings.If I could turn back time
When concentrating on the game's mechanics, however, things start to slip a bit. Alongside the narrative, there are also puzzle elements. Sadly, there's not much going on with them so tackling the challenges isn't much of an ask.
While I wasn't that fussed by it, there's no option to skip cutscenes - and you do see a couple of them time and time again.
My biggest irritation was is the game's loading times. Once that white screen popped up I stuck on my timer and waited an average of about 30 seconds. That doesn't sound too bad on its own, but there are a lot of loading screens to get through.
Last Day of June may not be a long game, but it's a powerful one that understands loss and explores it in a sensitive way. Its use of colour to reflect the mood, its clever direction, and its fitting soundtrack all make this experience one worth having.
At $19.99 with no replayability and about four/five hours of content, it's difficult to recommend to everyone. However, if you love a good story, and games that make you think, this is the one for you.