The future of humanity is something that we sometimes consider, be it 10 years, 50 years or even more. The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human takes this concept into the very far future, sending a human into space for what turns out to be an extended trip only to return an unknown amount of years in the future to find that the human race is now extinct. The planet has seen many other changes during this time; from melted polar ice caps, magnetic pole shift all the way to sub tectonic waters breached. Even the land above has frozen over, leaving behind an uninhabitable world that once thrived with a variety of life of 1000’s of species. Now though, it’s just you. The last human.
In possession of quite possibly the longest title of any Xbox game, TAAotLH is one of those games that offers huge potential, with a Metroivania feel and a pixelated side scrolling gameplay visual overhaul, and that soundtrack. Enhancing the atmosphere and mood of the game, which is mostly exploratory, and the laid back nature of the music leaves you feeling relaxed and chilled until you stumble upon a boss for the first time. Ramping up the score, as you do sub-aquatic battle with gigantic creatures of the deep, who are far from a pushover and make you work for that victory in some cases. Others can be beaten without breaking a sweat, and once vanquished will open up new sections of the game world and new upgrades.
Boss fights aside, the marine life poses absolutely no threat whatsoever to you and your humble submarine. A few plants may shoot projectiles at you in one location, but this is isolated from the rest of the game world and allows you freedom to explore. You will find certain brick walls that impede progress however, and certain upgrades may need collecting first, or boss fights dealt with before you are able to delve deeper into the game.
The story isn’t told through a traditional narrative such as text based or voice based cut scenes, rather nudging you in the direction of holotapes scattered around the world, offering up slices of information of the story of the last few people that lived. If you want to find out more, then get out there and discover them. A unique way of story telling, and one that made me feel that collecting items actually felt useful for a change in a game.
With that out of the way, it’s time to look at areas which could have been improved upon, or even drastically changed. The map. Just a bunch of square boxes stuck together with some icons on it that aren’t indicative of the area you’re actually located in. Sure there’s a mini map, but if you want to look at the big picture, then tough luck. Even when a boss has been dealt with by your trusty harpoon gun, their marker is still displayed on the map screen which is annoying as you have to then remember exactly where you’ve been and who you have smote.
Areas that are inaccessible are also not marked on the map, which meant I had a lot of wandering about looking for somewhere else that would allow me to advance the game further. This padded out time played artificially in my humble opinion, and may cause frustration for some. Not that the game is a lengthy affair either.
There are plenty of ship upgrades available to you, and even secret areas to find should you be inclined to poke your nose into areas that look a bit suspicious. You shall be rewarded for your persistence. Maybe a triple harpoon upgrade, and there’s more. So off you go and explore the murky depth.
The real lack of enemies during play aside from the boss fights may induce some boredom in players, while others may find the relaxed atmosphere and hauntingly beautiful surroundings perfect for the setting. The deal breaker for some, or the deal clincher. It all boils down to this when it comes to the purchase, so ask yourself that question if you’re scouring the store for your next game.
Would I recommend it? Yes and no. See the previous paragraph as to why. I’m on the side of yes though in case you’re wondering. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with it, even though one boss fight in particular took just over 20 attempts before I was successful. It was irritating, frustrating and highly satisfying once the dust settled. Prepare for the boss fights, and work that strategy out, cause you will need one. Charging in gung-ho is a certain death.
Overall, it’s a fantastic game with a concept that humanity may well die out one day, and that could be all to real in the future. Hopefully we won’t be here to suffer that fate, and we will have long since departed. A few niggles that drop the overall score but don’t let that put you off. If you like the sound of it, chances are you will enjoy the challenge and back story should you find all 41 holotapes.
Overall Score 8/10
Publisher: Digerati Distribution
Release Date: 19th January 2018
File Size: 303MB
Xbox One copy provided for review
Available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 & Steam