A Last Song video game review is undoubtedly one of the most unique ones I have ever written because I haven’t seen any game use music like this ever before. I am not a musician, but this game makes me feel like one while giving me the honor of restoring life.
Story, Gameplay, and First Playthrough
A Last Song is a game where you play as a robot who comes to life on a planet with no memory. As soon as you open your eyes or boot up (because you are a robot), you are in a bright-colored room with tons of plants, equipment, and a human.
The human is in a life pod with a couple of marks on his body and a missing left leg. The reason for this is unknown, but I can guess that the life pod is regenerating missing parts of his body and healing his wounds. How he ended up here is a mystery.
Now, after examining the environment, we notice that we are equipped with a musical instrument that we carry everywhere we go. We can use this to play notes wherever we go.
The human is our creator, and he tasks us to explore the biome. To do so, we have to use a ladder to go to the ground floor of our base. There we find more equipment we can use a couple of instruments we can play. After messing around with them, we leave the base to start our expedition.
As soon as we move out of the base we see a map covered with clouds and a bright circle around the base. This bright circle is a recharging zone that we can enter to restore our shield. If we move out of the safe zone, we will be in a zone with radiation of some sort that will damage us. However, as long as we have our shield, we can keep on moving.
But we have to be vigilant as our shield consumes power, and we need to give it a break after we run out of power. When we move into this unexplored territory, we find black spots on the ground indicating a meloplant is near us (Melo means song, melody, or tune). The black spots on the ground are dark matter which keeps the meloplants from creating musical energy.
If we go near a meloplant we can hear their tunes, and we have to play music with them. Playing the notes correctly will create safe zones known as recharging zones or shielding zones, and these will remove the storm, meaning we will have full visibility inside this zone. If you play music with all the meloplants inside a specific region, then the storm will be permanently pushed out of it.
However, there are things that are creating these storms purposefully, and they don’t like you restoring peace. Hence, they will start sending sentry bots which aren’t fun. They will shoot you on sight, so we have to be careful not to come in their visibility range.
Our journey is perilous, and the environment gets harsher with each step, but fortunately, we can upgrade using musical energy. Gathering musical energy isn’t an easy feat as we have to defeat Vespod Harvesters. These Vespods churn out the dark matter that is found around are meloplants. The more Vespod Harvesters out there mean more harm to our biome.
You have to chase down these Vespod Harvesters and defeat them using music. After defeating them, you can pick up their core. As soon as you pick up their core, a timer will start, which lasts for exactly a minute. During this time you have to visit all the meloplants you played music with and grab musical energy from them. There is a limit of how much you can pick, which at the start will be ten which can be upgraded later on.
Along our journey, we will find many vestiges, which are remnants that we have to scan. These vestiges give us hints about what happened here. The more vestiges we scan, the more we know about the story.
Music to fight off evil? Innovative!
When I hear games where we use music to fight off evil, I imagine a person playing a guitar and satan covering his ears while he slowly melts. However, a game like this would have been less action-packed, ridiculous, and funny. A Last Song pulls this off with ease by incorporating music to defeat enemies in a way that makes sense, and you feel the thrill.
By thrill, I don’t mean that it is action-packed, and you are profusely sweating. However, the game makes you feel like there is a lot at stake, due to which you traverse the biome with care. I literally freak out when my shields run out in the storm, and instead of moving through plain grounds, it feels like I am climbing a mountain in a storm.
Now back to the topic of fighting off evil with music. Many pieces of research have shown that plants react to music, and A Last Song works around this whole concept where you play music with these plants to get rid of dark matter around them. Doing so removes the storm, creates safe zones, and helps restore the biome to its former glory.
Interactive Base with tons of elements
Our Base is a small, bright, two-floored place that I would love to call home, apart from the random Human who lives here and orders us to do stuff. Tons of plants on the first floor have a soothing effect on one’s eyes. Another neat thing in our base is that you can interact with a lot of stuff.
You can spin the chair, play with instruments, play music, and use tools. However, due to the lack of tutorials in the game, many reviewers missed one of the best parts included in the game, which I am glad that I found.
Normally you can only talk with the human during cutscenes; otherwise, when you click on him, nothing happens. However, once you click on him and start playing music, I noticed that on the left side of him appears a circle. After you stop playing the notes for a while, the white dot in the center of the circle starts to expand while the game repeats the same notes that you did! It is like you are literally making your own tunes and listening to it on repeat.
Biome, Environemnt, and Map
An exploration game is also evaluated by how its map and environment are. Is it alive, how much of it is interactable, is it empty, how many unique elements are in it, and so much more. During the playthrough, the environment we see has so much incorporated into it that it feels alive.
You’ll find butterflies, water striders, and a variety of unique trees, and the best part is that each region has a unique look. Around our base what we find is the most common looking and flourishing area, but under it, you’ll find a region that seems like a desert. If you move to the right side of the map, you’ll enter the mountains, where you’ll find streams, and you’ll actually feel like you are visiting an area that is elevated.
If you move above the base you’ll find a dense forest with elements that you won’t find anywhere but a forest like an underground bunker. Each area has vestiges that you can explore, and all of them are perfect for the places they sit in. Saying too much here can be spoilers for many, and it’s best if you explore them on your own.
For the demo we were able to explore only the Doriam island. However, there are a total of six islands in the complete game namely:
- Unknown (Not announced)
However, overall the Dorian island is too short, and the developers can pump up the difficulty and thrill by expanding the map, making the meloplants farther away from each other. In the complete playthrough of A Last Song demo, I never had to use the item shield that created a safe zone artificially.
Due to this being a demo and a lot of material being missing from the game, I couldn’t enjoy the game completely. However, the game has introduced something that I have never seen before in any game. The developers have created the game because of their passion which is why you will find extraordinary details in the game. There are some polishes to be made in the game, which will be dealt with because I have communicated some suggestions and issues to the developers. All in all, this is a must-try, and you should get ahold of this game as soon as it is released!
Get ahold of the game by wishlisting it on Steam!