The Last Guy is a top down side-scrolling game in which you play as a zombie in a red cape trying to herd a conga line of screaming civilians back to a spaceship. Meanwhile, you have to avoid other zombies who range from super fast giant bugs to rolling eyeballs. Sound strange? That’s because it is, and yet it’s one of the more unique and charming titles on PSN.
There isn’t really a storyline to speak of. A purple ray struck earth and turned everyone outside into zombies, and everyone else is trapped inside and needs to be rescued. You play as a zombie from the Himalayas. For reasons unknown, he wants to lead the normal humans to safety as opposed to eating them.
For this to happen, you must visit the major cities of the world: e.g. Washington, San Francisco, Berlin, and London. Each city has been accurately re-created using something similar to Google Earth’s satellite images. When you go to the Tokyo level, you are actually playing on a map of Tokyo, which is pretty nifty. At each stage, you will have a target number of civilians to rescue within a time limit who can be found hiding inside the various buildings that make up each city.
The way to rescue people is simple. If the last guy walks past a building where they are cowering, they will rush out to join you. The more people in a building, the longer it takes to get them out. These people will then follow you around forming a line that snakes out behind you. The aim is to get this line back to a designated safe zone (which are handily marked out) where a spaceship can come and collect them. However, should anyone from the conga line touch one of the many roaming zombies will die, while all the people behind that point scatter back into the nearby buildings and need to be collected all over again.
There are several types of zombies each posing a different challenge. Some will follow a set route at high speed, but they won’t divert to chase you after they see you. Others move slower, but if you walk into their line of sight, they will chase you down in order to get some of your tasty human wards, or even you who will face instant death if one of the zombies manages to touch you. At other times, the zombies won’t chase you directly but will instead interfere in other ways: e.g. clouding your screen with smoke or letting out a loud roar that causes your line to scatter. Each new zombie forces you to develop different strategies in order to get safely back to the escape zone, and it also keeps the levels fresh. The enemy designs are all quirky and humorous with giant purple zombies and rolling eyeballs fitting nicely into the oddball storyline.
In order to help you pass these various obstacles, the last guy has a few special abilities. First, you can sprint using triangle, or you can blow a whistle with circle, which quickly clumps your conga line into a circle centered on you. Each time you use one of the abilities, your stamina bar will be drained a little, and of course, if it is empty, you will be unable to use them at all; luckily there are refill power-ups scattered throughout the levels. Also, as the conga line grows in size, your stamina bar also increases.
The strategy of The Last Guy lies mostly here; the longer the line, the more unwieldy it becomes, but when you are working against a time limit, you can’t afford to make too many trips back and forth to the escape zone. Plus having a longer line gives you another advantage; if you manage to get the line to circle completely around a building, everyone inside will join you instantly in an explosion of fireworks considering some of the larger buildings: i.e. stadiums, might have a few hundred refugees inside. Having a large number join you instantly will save a lot of time, and this can be a key difference between winning and losing.
The rest of the game play focuses on planning and time management. Players doing simple things like knowing where power ups are, what buildings contain the largest number of survivors, and avoiding zombie routes will ensure survival. In the later levels, the zombies get even deadlier, and you have to show even more forethought and caution when planning your route back to the escape zone. It’s a solid enough scheme, which is just challenging enough to give you a sense of achievement for completing a level without becoming frustrating.
As an indie title, The Last Guy looks nice but not excellent. The art direction is solid and the cities look like actual cities, but there really isn’t anything that will cause your jaw to drop in astonishment. With that said, the sound is absolutely magnificent with some sort of funky Japanese techno music providing a backdrop to the manic game play, and the screams and cheers of the refugees fit perfectly with the vibe of the game.
There is no multiplayer, but there are online features that include a leader board for each city, overall score, and civilian rescue counters. Each city has four VIP inhabitants who will give you a bonus score if they are rescued; they are highlighted within your conga line if you happen to pick them up. These features add a little bit of replayability, but not a great amount, and to beat all 15 levels shouldn’t take more than six hours. In all honesty, this is probably a good thing. Things might begin to feel repetitive if you play for too long.
The Last Guy is fun while it lasts and is a departure from the norm; it’s worth a purchase if you are looking for a quick diversion that is amusing with some solid game play. It’s available for PSN now.
It’s quirky but simple. The most impressive thing is seeing the excellent city landscapes and knowing it actually looks like that.
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The gameplay is simple to pick up but grows in depth as you encounter more zombies and your targets become harsher.
The music will infest your brain. Also, the squeals of the terrified civilians when they spot a zombie are comically endearing.
Not the longest game, and there really is not too much reason to go back and replay it more than a few times.
A good PSN title that lets its unusual character shine through.