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Last Minute Review

Last Minute is a first-person visual novel, billed as a “story game set in the woods”. Unfortunately, Last Minute seems like it was rushed out for sale at the last minute, because the developer forgot all about some key items for the player. First of all, there are no instructions of any kind provided before or after starting a new game. Second, there is no list of controls or any way to remap any controls provided in the game. The options do allow the player to adjust the resolution, graphics rendering level, and sound (music and effects are combined).

Randomly pecking at the keys will reveal the obvious controls, WASD/arrow keys to move, space bar to jump, and control will crouch the player. If there are other controls, they are not obvious. The mouse acts as in any typical FPS, but clicking, like trying to click on doors or objects to interact doesn’t work. The intent appears to be for the player to simply walk over key areas, and when the narration completes, the player can move on to some other location. Since there is no guidance at all, it is up to the player to discover all possible paths.

The visual style of Last Minute is low poly, flat shaded; actually, fairly well done. There are God rays, haze, nicely rendered grass and trees, though the trees are very repetitively positioned. There are some Z-buffering issues in places and glitchy pop-in surfaces. The only other living creature appears to be the player’s dog, but he is not very animated and doesn’t follow the player. The music is quite nice, a soft melancholy sound. There is voice-over narration that laughably sounds like a California surfer speaking with an odd vernacular (e.g., “I shall explore this place further”).

This story is on rails, quite literally, with an ending that tries to be clever. Mostly it is a walking simulator, with a lot of backtracking. One of the walks is overly long and leads to nothing, except backtracking, which was annoying. There are invisible barriers to prevent the player from straying off the intended direction, but the intended direction is not cued or obvious. There is an area referred to as a ‘village’ that is totally devoid of any living being, yet somehow has people in it, as the player will discover. The player will likely scoff at the end of the story and feel cheated out of $5. Although somewhat visually appealing, it is impossible to recommend buying Last Minute.

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