If you’re a fan of story-driven games, you’ll want to check out a new indie game called Last Stop, which puts a decidedly British spin on some familiar sci-fi tropes. It’s a body-swapping, mystery-solving adventure spliced with sarcastic humour which pierces through the mundanity of London life.
Last Stop is developed by Variable State (whose previous project was a 2016 mystery game called Virginia) and published by Annapurna Interactive (a California-based company that has carved a niche for itself in recent years with clever, creative titles such as Outer Wilds, Donut County and What Remains of Edith Finch).
The game has some strong pedigree behind it, then, which shines through consistently. Over a runtime of roughly six hours, the game guides the player through three intriguing stories of weird goings-on in London, before weaving them together into a satisfying conclusion.
Last Stop is our latest RadioTimes.com Game of the Week, and we’d wager that it will go down a treat with any fans of episodic, eccentric, UK-centric sci-fi series such as Doctor Who. Plus, as an added bonus, it’s included at no added cost for members of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. If it sounds like your cup of tea, read on for our full review!
Last Stop blends awkward British humour and slang with big sci-fi ideas across all three of its narrative strands, each of which has its own title: in Paper Dolls, there’s a Freaky Friday body swap between a middle-aged man and his younger neighbour (who works a horrid job in the gaming industry); in Stranger Danger, you play as a teenage student who stumbles into a strange situation one night with her pals, meeting a bizarre being in the process; and in Domestic Affairs, you play as a secret agent whose employers are being extra shifty of late.
Each of these narrative strands has six short episodes (they’re roughly 20 minutes apiece), and this structure works really nicely, making the overall experience of discovering the story feel like you’re binging through a box-set of your favourite TV show. Each episode even starts with a recap of the story so far, although there is an option to skip this if you’d prefer.
Gradually, the storylines converge – with unlikely help coming from a vape shop employee, in one particularly tongue in cheek sequence – and you’ll eventually dig into the truth behind some mysterious events that happened on the London Underground several years earlier.
The story of Last Stop packs in a few twists and turns, and it leads to some places that you might not expect – to say much more on that front might accidentally veer into spoiler territory, but suffice to say that we’d recommend sticking with Last Stop right to the end so you can see how it all pans out (you even get a few big choices that can alter the endings).
Read more Game of the Week reviews:
- Doctor Who: The Lonely Assassins is the next best thing to watching the show
- Star Wars: Vader Immortal is a most impressive VR experience
- Biomutant is a post-apocalyptic Kung-Fu Panda
- Before Your Eyes is a truly beautiful gaming experience
Some of the stories do sag a bit around the midpoint of the game, but it’s well worth sticking with it – there are some good payoffs at the end. And the main characters are well-developed, too, with each of them going through the wringer and coming out the other side changed. Without forcing any moral lessons overtly, the game still has something to say about the human condition and looking out for one another.
If you’re looking for an action-adventure experience, however, it’s worth noting that Last Stop isn’t really that sort of game. Although there are a few moments when you’ll need to press certain buttons to make a character sneak, dash or interact with objects, for the most part your job is to guide the characters from one conversation to the next.
You’ll do a fair bit of walking and decision-making, but the action side of things is not meant to be the focus. In terms of a pure gameplay experience, then, you couldn’t really say that Last Stop offers anything overly exciting, but the story itself – and the characters you’ll grow to love – more than make up for that.
Where to buy Last Stop:
- Buy the PC version from Steam (£19.49)
- Buy the Nintendo Switch version from the eShop (£19.49)
- Buy the PlayStation version from the Sony store (£19.99)
- Play the Xbox version via Xbox Game Pass Ultimate (two-week trial for £2.99)
Some players might also find the graphics a bit too simple and cartoonish, especially if you spend most of your time with big AAA games. That being said, however, there are some beautiful creations and visually pleasing moments later on, even though the core character models and early environments are fairly simple.
Plus, the voice acting is solid from the whole cast – the bickering between Brennan Reece’s Jack and James Doherty’s John, the pair that get body-swapped, is particularly enjoyable – and there’s a beautiful orchestral score from Lyndon Holland, who also co-wrote the game with Jonathan Burroughs and co-directed it with Burroughs and Terry Kenny. That excellent audio work really helps to elevate the experience, and it’ll probably stop you from caring about the lo-fi graphics.
All in all, then, Last Stop is an easy game to recommend. The interwoven story and the colourful cast of characters will certainly grow on you, and there’s plenty of humour to enjoy along the way to some big sci-fi surprises at the end. It really is a great journey to go on.
And if you’re a Doctor Who fan that is patiently waiting for Doctor Who Series 13 and Doctor Who: The Edge of Reality, this game’s similar blend of sci-fi and Britishness will do very nicely in the meantime.
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