The Last Door: Collector’s Edition is an episodic point-and-click horror adventure that takes place in Victorian England. This terrifying compilation features the original four episodes that comprised the title’s first season, following Jeremiah Devitt as he investigates the mysterious suicide of an old school friend.
While the low-res graphics may deter you, I assure you that it makes up for it in atmosphere, suspense, and terrific storytelling. Think of it as a point-and-click love letter to the works of Lovecraft, Poe, or Hitchcock, just merged together with primitive pixellated visuals.
At first I thought The Last Door‘s low-res approach may be a limiting factor in the scares department — how can pixels be terrifying, right? — but boy was I wrong. I still found myself fishing for items in the sea of pixels at times, but key items tended to stand out quite well, and that’s a testament to the quality of pixel art featured in the game.
Spanish developer The Game Kitchen used an astounding mixture of dark colors, but still managed to create a visual atmosphere with distinct characters and unique environments to explore. Retro art styles are nothing new anymore, especially in the indie scene, but the developers did a fantastic job creating an immersive world, complete with slick lighting effects, rolling fog, and a few brief moments of rain. Needless to say, it just worked.
As a point-and-click adventure game, The Last Door was pretty lacking in the puzzle department. In typical point-and-click fashion, I found myself exploring each environment head to toe, clicking on everything to amass an inventory of items, and then using deductive reasoning (or spastic click spamming every item) to figure out what went where.
I’m generally more of a story buff when it comes to adventure games, so the lack of puzzles really didn’t burst my bubble, but if you’re looking for some brain teasers you’ll probably leave disappointed. That’s not to say there aren’t any puzzles, but I can only recall one or two that really stood out.
With that being said, The Last Door is definitely a “story first” adventure game, and thankfully it delivered in spades. Since it was an episodic release, it showed an obvious increase in quality as I played through each chapter one by one; often reminding me of reading Stephen King’s Dark Tower series for the first time.
While its original chapter is dark and moody, movement speed was extremely sluggish. Much to my delight, the second chapter improved upon this by increasing Jeremiah’s movement speed, but also focused more on elaborate characters and his own backstory. Its third chapter seemed to have the reverse effect, focusing more on exploration and item management, while the final chapter was a solid combination of storytelling and puzzles.
I liked that each chapter was distinct, and their cliffhanger endings always had me ready to push continue as soon as the credits rolled, but felt the finale was a bit underwhelming as far as closure is concerned. It’s one thing to keep me guessing through a major arc in the story, but it just felt unfinished — because it is. The Game Kitchen is currently working on its second season, but I feel that The Collector’s Edition should have waited until either the main arc was finished, or given a less enduring cliffhanger before bundling it all together.
Although I was rather disappointed in the way it ended, The Last Door: The Collector’s Edition is still a great game; probably the best horror adventure game I’ve played since the 90’s. It’s a tough gig to be different in the point-and-click adventure genre, but the game definitely stands out from the crowd with its terrific writing and eye-catching retro art style.
The Last Door: Collector’s Edition was made all the more better by its incredible soundtrack and terrifying atmosphere that kept me in suspense for the duration of my 4 hour playthrough. I’m the type of person who enjoys fully immersing themselves in a game by playing with headphones on, so hearing random laughter coming from behind a shower curtain, or footsteps on the floor above me, was made that much more unsettling. And let’s not even discuss the jump scares. I’ll just say that The Game Kitchen fully succeeded in making pixels horrifying, and that had a lot to do with using my own imagination to fill in the gaps.
Bradley Keene is the Executive Editor here at What’s Your Tag?, generally handling news, reviews, and a bit of our public relations communications. He’s an aspiring writer and Baltimore native that can usually be found watching terrible B-movies or knee-deep in a roguelike, a horror game or some sort of point-and-click adventure. His favorite console is the Dreamcast, favorite game is the original Metroid, and he could watch The Goonies for the rest of his life. Contact him by e-mail at the address above, or follow his insanity on Twitter.