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The Last Window DS Review

24/01/2011 Thinking Dressup Gamer Review
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The Last Window DS

The Last Window




Further reading:
Hotel Dusk
The Dig
Gabriel Knight
Heavy Rain

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Other GamePeople columnists have reviewed this from their perspective - huh?:
Story Gamer (DS)
Domestic Gamer (DS)
Reporting Gamer (DS)
Microcosm Gamer (DS)

The Last Window's classic adventure and stylish presentation struggled to replace the shared experience of PC adventure games. Its text heavy nature was readable but didn't really get me playing the detective.

The Last Window is a detective point and click adventure game from the defunct developer Cing and a sequel to Hotel Dusk. It follows the story of a down on his luck private eye who has not only just lost his job, but is imminently about to lose his home. His apartment block, which was formerly a hotel is about to unveil the murky secrets of its past and luckily you are there as Kyle Hyde ready to piece it all together.

Point and click adventure games on the DS should be a marriage made in heaven and in some ways the intimate nature and of the handheld with its stylus interaction really helps with the tactile nature of telling a detective story.

However, when it comes to actually solving the puzzles, the enforced solo sleuthing of the handheld cramped my style. I prefer to be sat around a monitor with two brains sharing the conundrums. On my own I'm just impatient, which leads to frantic screen tapping in search of a clues rather than rational thought.

I still reminisce with my wife years later about games such as The Dig and the Gabriel Knight series. The lack of instant answers on the Internet, led me into extended games of trial and error and leaps of intellectual good fortune. Last Window with its solitary experience will never provide similar memories. The best I can hope for is to work on my own play through and discuss my experiences after the event.

The Last Window is more memorable for its graphical style, which is immediately reminiscent of 1980's pop act Ah Ha and their Take on Me video - the pencil drawn sketches look amazing. Add this to the book orientation play style and you have an engaging way to interact with a very dialogue heavy game - evoking the reading of a detective novel.

This deliberate pacing slowly builds each character's profile making the latter stages of the adventure more interesting.

The moment to moment experience feels very guided with almost each step causing you to bump into another character revealing just a little more of their story - with plenty of loose needs to get you thinking. This deliberate pacing slowly builds each character's profile making the latter stages of the adventure more interesting as motives become as important as puzzle solving.

When you do get involved in those puzzles, you are invariably trapped in a relatively confined area and I found myself walking up to every part of the screen and touching things in the hope of finding something Kyle deems useful.

This is the element of adventure games I find least appealing. I simply don't want to play "guess what can be clicked on". Whilst objects do "highlight" if they are interactive it still takes a long time to work your way meticulously around each location. This might be part of being a detective, but other games like Heavy Rain have streamlined this element focusing instead on the evidence rather than its discovery.

d this game been on Wii, then perhaps sharing the experience around a television might have made the puzzles more fun.

For once, reading proves more interesting than playing in a game in a way that sets up the strange paradox that being a detective is less rewarding than reading about a being detective. On these grounds as much as any The Last Window doesn't quite work for me. It interrupts an enjoyable story with frustrating interludes rather than interesting diversions.

Had this game been on Wii, then perhaps sharing the experience around a television might have made the puzzles more fun, but then the amount of text would have been distracting and robbed it of much of its narrative richness.

Written by Jon Seddon

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Jon Seddon writes the Dressup Gamer column.

"Dress-up is the door to a world of make believe and theatre. I review games that let me escape my world and take on a myriad of roles. I love games that emphasise my character and the choices I can make - whether I am merely outfitting them for the fight or choosing which of my crew to save."

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