Oh man. I gotta hurry up and finish playing the top 10 from Ludum Dare 22 before the next Ludum Dare challenge takes place. Which is around the end of April 2012, and I think I can do it, as I only have three more games to try out: Last Breath, Abandoned, and Frostbite. All of them look simply fantastic in visual terms and are definitely platforms higher than those that came before them, which might just mean a pinch more of reflecting on my part. I can and will do this, and if Ludum Dare 23 goes well, I’d like to do it again as it’s a great push on myself to try out some smaller games I’d otherwise not even notice.
Like in Stray Whisker, Last Breath features an animal as your protagonist. This time it’s a dog, and it’s unclear if it’s a dead dog or a dog in limbo or a dog that was hit by a truck so hard that it flew into a hole in the ground which then opened up into a maze-like cavern–oh, and it also survived the impact. I guess all signs point more towards a limbo-based Canis lupus familiaris given this bit of text from creator deepnight:
The story of a dog trapped between life & death.
I can’t say much more, it would spoil the story 🙂
Anyways, after exploring this cavern a bit, you’ll discover multiple red balls and a shadow version of yourself, with eyes full of hatred. As soon as you begin to collect the balls, your shadow duplicate comes after you, literally shadowing your every move and eviscerating you upon touch. Your goal, from what I can tell as I was unable to even complete this part, is to collect all ten balls without the shadow dog killing you. This involves some planning as you can find yourself at a dead end for some balls, with no way out and the shadow beast closing in. The closest I got was a total of eight balls.
Last Breath, much like that silhouette XBLA darling Limbo, nails a lot of things: atmosphere, suspense, and gameplay. The pixel art and animation work is immediately charming, and I’ve had a deep love for that floating particle effect ever since I first played Fallout 3. The controls are simple, as the dog can move, jump, and cling–in a rather funny way–to ledges, and you’ll quickly go from exploring casually to running and jumping for your very being. The ambient music doesn’t change to reflect this, which is a shame, but it’s tense nonetheless. There’s obviously a best path to walk, but I didn’t figure it out after ten minutes or so.
Do try it, and good luck getting all those balls.