The Last Campfire
The Last Campfire is an indie adventure and puzzle game developed by the British studio Hello Games, famous for the space simulator No Man’s Sky. The game was released on August 27, 2020 for Apple Arcade, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows personal computers. In The Last Campfire, the player takes control of the Coal character and travels among the abandoned ruins to find their way home. As you progress, the player meets different locations, presented by puzzle platformers, as well as non-player characters who need help solving puzzles in their own minds. Go to the “#Gameplay” section.
Development of The Last Campfire began after the release of No Man’s Sky and was driven by the desire of the developers to “relax” at work of a less ambitious, but “beautiful and cozy” indie game without elements of stress, mentioning as prototypes such indie games as Journey or Abzû … When writing the story, the developers turned to the idea of ”finding hope in a hopeless world” inspired by folk tales, as well as the films “Labyrinth” and “Dark Crystal”. The creators compared The Last Campfire with a short film from Pixar, noting that this game was their starting point for the development of a more ambitious project, sustained in a similar game genre.
The game as a whole received positive reviews from game critics, the average score according to the aggregator Metacritic ranged from 77 to 83 points out of 100 possible on different platforms. Critics praised the game for its atmosphere, art style, touching storytelling and musical accompaniment, the ratings of the puzzles were different, some critics praised them for their great variety, and some considered mediocre. Also, some critics have complained about performance problems on Nintendo Switch and game consoles. Skip to #Criticism.
The game offers a variety of puzzle mechanics: most often you need to roll round platforms or move platforms using a lever or running wheel. Other tasks include moving the statues and placing them on special steles, changing the direction of light by placing or rotating lenses, avoiding platforms with wind that can extinguish the fire, luring pigs with fruits, re-arranging metal pipes to channel heat inside them, and etc. In some locations, you need to navigate using a boat.
The game requires solving a variety of puzzles to complete
In the middle of the passage, the ember receives a special musical instrument with which you can move special platforms. On this mechanic, puzzles are tied at the end of the passage, for example, an ember can move stairs, cubes, special chains, which, for example, must completely cover cells of the same color, and so on. In total, the game, not counting a number of locations, for example the habitat of “birds”, is represented by three main levels with a blue bonfire in the center, to complete it, the player must awaken eight “abandoned” ones, after which he opens the way to new levels. The game also has an “exploration mode” that excludes puzzles and only allows you to explore the game world.
Narration and dialogue are accompanied by a female voiceover (Rachel August). According to the storyline, the player-controlled “Ember” goes astray, breaks away from his group and tries to find his way back. The gender of the character is unknown; in the English version, the game uses the pronoun they / them for coal. The game takes place in an unknown universe, a world filled with traces of an unknown advanced civilization, to which the coals are directly related. However, in this withering world, the remaining coals fall more and more into despair and, having lost their inner fire, turn to stone, becoming “abandoned”, a long stay in this state will end in irrevocable death. Coal also encounters many “abandoned” remains. One of the tasks of the controlled ember is to penetrate their inner consciousness and return their inner light. Consciousness is represented by a pocket dimension and a puzzle, where the player, having successfully solved the problem, will be able to get close to the flame locked in the cage. As he travels, the ember meets various playable characters, whom he can help, for example, feed the king of the pig, or find the ingredients for the turtle-cook.