The Last Guy!

Nofi hates me.  He’s quite subtle about it, but he hates me.

Witness:

He sent me a Christmas card, knowing I would be unable to reciprocate. He likes stuff such as PixelJunk Eden, I like proper games.  Therefore, he sent me The Last Guy as a Christmas present. See?  A card and rubbish present – he really doesn’t like me. I did say “Thank you” though – I was well brought up and am polite, after all.

Now, the thing with Christmas is that everything changes.  Days are not normal – they still contain hours and minutes – but you end up wasting them in ways less fun than the ways you waste time at work.  For instance, you have to watch James Bond re-runs, and not the swanky new Casino Royale Blu-ray you’ve just received.  And Auntie Ethel needs to see you, in close-up, wearing the jumper with reindeer on the front that she knitted for you.  All this means is that your PS3 lies sad and neglected, while all around everything is “fun”.

Due to the neglect, I didn’t get around to installing The Last Guy for a few days.  And, it being Christmas time, when I did install it I was immediately interrupted by a TV hijack that meant being forced to watch The Sound of Music.  Don’t get me wrong, TSoM is a fantastic film, but I was rather looking forward to “playing” The Last Guy for twenty seconds, hating it, and then sitting back, satisfied that again I was correct about Nofi.

This did not happen, because not only was my PS3 slightly miffed about the neglect, it then decided to get its own back by playing “Hide the Game”.

This is where the PS3 hides newly downloaded/installed games way down on the Games section of the XMB.  So far down that you rarely venture there.  You don’t really want to be reminded of that awful Championship Sprint purchase, or the fact that you were blinded by Jaffe’s rhetoric and thought Calling All Cars would be as good.  So, you stay away.  But that’s where my PS3 had put The Last Guy.

By now, Nofi was most probably thinking I was being a nob, as I hadn’t reported back on my “enjoyment” of his “gift”.  Ha – that’ll learn ‘im, I thought.

However, once the Christmas period had passed and I had recovered from my two-week sojourn into a depression so tortuous I considered stapling my face to a passing bus, I actually found The Last Guy and had a go.

Now, years of conviction, backed up by hard evidence as the early paragraphs show, is starting to erode.  Perhaps he doesn’t hate me after all.

Why?

Because The Last Guy is…

Damn it.

Because The Last Guy is an almost average attempt at…

No, be fair.

Because The Last Guy is a damn good game.

It’s basically Pacman-meets-Snake.  You – Pacman – must use the overhead view to navigate through Zombie-infested environments eating (rescuing) dots (people), who then form a big Snake (line) behind you and follow your every move.  Then you head back to the Escape Zone and the people in the line will be rescued once the timer runs out, which means you’ve got time to head back into Zombie territory and rescue more people.

Enemies in the form of varied Zombie hordes patrol the environments and will chase and eat you if they possibly can.  There are a number of different enemy types, and by the far most annoying is the one whose mighty voice causes your line of 28 million people to run off and hide indoors again.  This usually happens when there’s enough time left to gather them all up only to fail the level mere inches from the Escape Zone.  It’s like a metaphor for Sony.

The rescue mechanic is so simple – just stand and wait outside buildings, or pick up stragglers in the street – and yet it’s more compulsive than watching people getting hurt on YouTube.  It’s also, bizarrely, relaxing despite the constant time pressure.  That’s hard to explain, but if you’re like me and AndyTorr who think OCD is awesome, then “collecting” people in The Last Guy is about as much fun as you can have with a PS3.

It’s a great little title, even down to the choice of music and sound effects which add a lovely layer of cartoon-like atmosphere.

He still hates me though.

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