The Last Day of June
Acclaimed Director Massimo Guarini has released his latest heart-wrenching story in The Last Day of June! See below for our thoughts on the game!
Heartbreaking Story of Love and Hope
In a small town, somewhere in the world, live the lovely couple Carl and June and their four kooky neighbors. On this, seemingly, innocent day, Carl decides that the best way to spend the day would be to go to their favorite spot, just outside of town. They sit on the small wooden dock, looking out on the water as the sun goes down, with June drawing Carl as a superhero. After Carl decides to get a blanket for June, June hands him a mysterious gift. Before he’s able to open it, rain begins to fall, forcing them to head home early. However, both of them wouldn’t be making it home on this night.
The Last Day of June follows Carl, June, and the neighbors on the one day that would change their lives forever. In the shadow of heartbreak, this game becomes a story of hope as Carl gains the ability to go back in time and figure out how the love of his life could avoid passing away. This involves following each member of the community and finding a way to change their paths.
Acclaimed Director Massimo Guarini created a game that perfectly exemplifies the way humans experience loss. As anyone who has ever felt such tragedy, you can’t help but think, “How did this happen? What could I have done differently? Who is responsible? What would I give to have them back?”. The Last Day of June answers all of those questions, not only by allowing Carl to go back in time, but also showing us the “What ifs” with ghostly memories that never were. Guarini’s game becomes a perfect way to cope with the gut-wrenching feeling of loss, by interactively playing through what you’re already feeling.
Unique Time-traveling Gameplay
If The Last Day of June wasn’t already unique, just from the storytelling, the gameplay takes it over the top. Originality in movies and, sometimes, video games has been lacking, over the years. So, it’s nice when you can play a game that astounds, challenges, surprises, and makes you feel. 505 Games has that on their hands with The Last Day of June.
Now, we’ve already gone over the uniqueness of the story but every unique game needs a unique way of playing through it. As I stated before, this game frequently goes back in time to change the future. In order to do that, you must learn more about them and what they were doing leading up to June’s death. Where it gets unique are all the challenging puzzles you have to solve in order to change their path.
When you follow a neighbor, you’ll discover that each person has two cards that show what they were doing on that fateful day. Your job is to not make the same mistakes they did. Though, that’s easier said than done, because if you’re not careful you could make those mistakes and not know it until it’s too late.
When you get through it the first time, you may play through the first memory and think it’ll be a walk in the park. However, that thought process would be wrong, as memory #1 is a warm-up, or child’s play, if you will. Where it gets tricky is when you think you’ve solved one puzzle but you have to go back and re-do a memory to help out another memory. It can get very frustrating to play through, but oh so satisfying when you figure out the answer.
Art Style Ripped Out of A Tim Burton Movie
At first glance, it’s easy to see just how different The Last Day of June is, compared to other titles. The stop motion art style looks like it was inspired from the movies that made Tim Burton’s career (i.e. The Nightmare Before Christmas, Coraline, Frankenweenie). As it turns out, that’s actually by design. Jess Cope, animator of Frankenweenie, was a collaborator in creating this game. No doubt, she’s the reason for the unique art design in The Last Day of June.
This type of style lends itself perfectly to the emotional story being told. In fact, it becomes the main tool to vocalize the emotion being felt by the characters. That’s because none of these characters talk. They will make noises but the direct way gamers understand what’s going on is through Cope’s animation.
While I’m not a fan of limiting voice actor use in video games, I find myself appreciating it in games like this. A game like The Last Day of June doesn’t need a whole lot of dialogue to get the point across. Subtle glances and helpful imaging are enough, and The Last Day of June has a ton of that.
What I love about this game is that everything lends itself to providing a truly memorable experience. The art style, the gameplay, and the story each have a part to play in making The Last Day of June one of the top stories to add to your library.
A Unique Game Inside & Out Makes For An Unforgettable Experience
Overall, The Last Day of June was a truly lovely game to play. It holds your hand as you experience a wave of emotion with the characters, and teaches valuable lessons in coping with loss. The puzzles can be challenging but that’s the reason we play puzzle games, to be challenged. If you’re into indie story games then this is a must play. I have a feeling it won’t be leaving your collection after you’re done.