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The Last Campfire is like a light in the darkness

11 April 2022 - 15:25 By Arielle Pieterse
The Last Campfire is incredibly simple and straightforward, from the mechanics to the puzzles, making it a game that can be experienced all on your own to tune out the world around you or shared with your child, a younger sibling or even a friend.
The Last Campfire is incredibly simple and straightforward, from the mechanics to the puzzles, making it a game that can be experienced all on your own to tune out the world around you or shared with your child, a younger sibling or even a friend.
Image: Supplied

This article is brought to you by NAG

To say I’ve been struggling to stay positive and motivated throughout the darkness of last week is an underestimate. It’s a cruel and unusual punishment to take away the one thing I am so incredibly reliant on to make it through my day: power. So to try and get myself into a better mental state, I’ve been using the short times when I do have connectivity to look for games that will take my mind off of the looming darkness but that can also be played in short bursts. Enter The Last Campfire.

Fittingly, The Last Campfire is a fully narrated puzzle game that’s all about searching for light in the darkness. Something I relate to more with every passing day. The Last Campfire tells a surprisingly touching story about the Forlorn. Forlorn’s are souls who have seemingly lost their way and purpose by abandoning all hope. You control a character named Ember, a little soul looking for their own light but who refuses to leave the Forlorn while on their quest and instead makes it their mission to help them find their way.

Check out Hello Games' The Last Campfire, an adventure game where you play as Ember, trapped in a puzzling place, searching for meaning and a way home.

As with the fairytales from your childhood, The Last Campfire tells a fantastical fictional story that anyone and everyone can relate to. While on the surface, the story The Last Campfire tells is a simple one, when you sit back and think about it, the heavy themes of anxiety, loneliness, isolation and loss are all there. But they are carefully delivered in a way that never feels too much, depressing or suffocating and rather, you are left with feelings of hope and of being seen.

First and foremost, The Last Campfire is a puzzle game. There is absolutely no combat throughout, and all of your progress is made by exploring and solving the puzzles found along the way. Instead of falling victim to the common “puzzle game” trope of eliciting more groans than anything else and constantly leaving the player to search for walkthroughs to progress, the puzzles within The Last Campfire are never impossible and somehow always manage to feel fresh and exciting, even when you’re five hours in.

If I had to pick another game that gave me the same feeling while playing as The Last Campfire, I’d be remiss not to pick The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. While the exploration is incomparable and the game’s scale is even more far off, the real comparison lies within the minimal approach to solving puzzles within the shrines. The Last Campfire gives players very basic controls to utilize, walk, run, jump, pick up things or push and pull things, and that’s it.

I play many Indie games, and I’ve always seen them as the place where creativity and new ideas can truly come to life but not since playing Death’s Door have I seen it so well executed. If you’re looking for a puzzle game that will keep you engaged all the way through while never leaving you feeling stuck and lost, then The Last Campfire is a game you need in your life.

The puzzles all rely on one thing and one thing only, logic. Nothing was overly complex, but everything makes you feel good about yourself when you solve it.
The puzzles all rely on one thing and one thing only, logic. Nothing was overly complex, but everything makes you feel good about yourself when you solve it.
Image: Supplied
BOTTOM LINE
The Last Campfire is like a cup of hot chocolate on a cold winter's night; It's like your mom reading you your favourite bedtime story as a child, and it's like putting your music on shuffle and hearing exactly what you wanted. The Last Campfire is incredibly simple and straightforward, from the mechanics to the puzzles, making it a game that can be experienced all on your own to tune out the world around you or shared with your child, a younger sibling or even a friend.

PROS
The narration sounds like someone is reading you a bedtime story
There is a constant sense of tranquilly and melancholy flowing throughout the game
The score, while not being memorable when not playing, is haunting fitting during the experience
The puzzles all rely on one thing and one thing only, logic. Nothing was overly complex, but everything makes you feel good about yourself when you solve it.

CONS
Not enough of a fuss was made about this absolute gem of a game, and it almost disappeared between the cracks
At roughly five hours of playtime, I didn't feel ready to say goodbye to the world yet and wished I didn't need to

SCORE: 97


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