Think of The Last Guy as a bastard mashup of Google Earth and Pac-man. Despite the apocalyptic prose revolving around zombies, purple lights and the end of the World as we know it, this is a bourgeois fetch-em-up dressed in sporadically high definition graphics. Depending on the location, you’re either treated to massive, pin-sharp quasi three-dimensional environments or blurry, flat non-descript ones, but the premise is identical throughout.
Dressed in cape, you’re The Last Guy charged with the job of collecting the Earth’s remaining survivors from their relative safe locations (usually holed-up indoors) and taking them back to the rescue area where, when the timer expires, a spacecraft will pick them up and take them to, we presume, Stockport. If you’ve met your quota, you’ll unlock the next level and location, and thus the game continues until you run of places on Earth to work your salvation magic.
The twist comes in several flavours, though, and despite the simplicity of the game this isn’t a one trick pony. Your avatar has both energy and stamina, and dashing from place to place will expire the latter and make quick escapes a tougher proposition. You can also hold a button to force the line of rescuees to huddle up behind you instead of the Pied Piper-esque trail, again, this uses stamina (although it’s not clear why). Finally, holding another button activates an infra-red style view which shows the remaining humans more clearly, but hides any dangers.
See, instead of Blinky, Twinky and Po, or whatever the ghosts were called, The Last Guy features roaming zombie creatures that can devour your followers in a split second, massively reducing your chances of not only reaching the quota but any bonuses obtained from leading around huge numbers of people simultaneously. Some areas are blocked until you reach a set number, a la Loco Roco, for example, and your maximum stamina is determined by people in your tail. So, do you play it safe and drop off small numbers at a time, or work towards an all-in-one mega score, risking the outer corners of the map to seek out the level’s secrets?
Visually it’s all a bit browser, but it’s not an ugly game. Sure, it’s flat sprites throughout, the animation is clunky and as we’ve said, some of the levels aren’t as nice as others, but the whole thing is consistent and not without a certain sense of charm. The bleeps and buzzes from the speakers complement the aesthetics nicely, and for a fiver it’s not below what you’d expect from a PSN game. The problem is a lack of game modes and a thus is a relatively brief single player only title, but as an experimental piece of software it’s quirky enough to warrant a look. Try the demo, but expect the same throughout the rest of the game if you decide on a purchase.