Playback: The Last Guy

Mystery surrounded The Last Guy, after being announced with a single image of a red pixel man and the title little was known about the curious game from Japan. It soon became clear that the game could be filed in the ‘WTF?’ folder alongside Noby Noby Boy and Loco Roco as it featured a rather bizarre premise. The Earth has been struck by a purple ray of doom and anyone caught in its beam has been turned into a monster, or as the game refers to these hapless individuals, zombies. You play as the only heroic zombie, from Himalayas (obviously) and you must rescue the inhabitants of cities who have evaded the purple ray of doom.

Played from a top down perspective, the heroic zombie can traverse accurate representations of the cities, running up and down the roads, parks and railways. When I say accurate I really mean it, the level layouts are made from satellite photos of major cities including London, Berlin, Washington D.C., San Francisco and, erm, Newcastle. As you pass a building that contains people they will pour out and follow your zombie; for the purposes of this Playback I shall name him Bob.

As you rescue the survivors they fall in line behind Bob and form a ‘tail’, whilst you weave and dodge your way through the city and deliver the people to the safe zone. If you feel that finding survivors may be tricky fear not, a single button press swaps the screen to a heat vision mode which helps Bob locate terrified people but removes the enemies from the screen.

[drop2]Ah yes, the enemies. Roaming the streets are the mutated human zombies that will, obviously, try and attack you and the survivors you have following you. If your ‘tail’ of people gets attacked then they will scatter and hide in the nearest building until you go back to collect them. If Bob collides with a zombie then it’s game over and you’re sent back to the beginning of the level.

Careful timing and a good route will ensure Bob delivers the required number of people to the safe zone before the time – and annoyingly catchy J-pop background music – runs out. The more adventurous players will discover new tactics, for example if your ‘tail’ holds more than 500 people then rather than standing outside a building and waiting for people to pour out, Bob can encircle a block with his followers and collect all the people in the building at once.

Despite the arcade-esque look it is essentially a puzzle game in which you must discover the best route through the cities while a timer slowly counts down. Later levels include power up bonuses and blockades that can only be passed if Bob has a certain amount of people following him. With fifteen levels it will only take a few hours to complete the game but there is plenty of replayability, with the maps being large enough to offer multiple solutions to each level. The graphics are functional rather than amazing and it can be rather hard to locate Bob when he is by himself; even with the zoom level set to maximum, the Himalayan hero only measures a few pixels across.

Amusingly – for me at least – one of the London maps covers the West End and Mayfair, allowing me to rescue hysterical co-workers from the foyer of my office and hide round the back of a building whilst a large hairy zombie shuffles past. Shame that doesn’t happen in real life.

‘The Last Guy’ is one of those quirky games PlayStation does so well, a forgotten gem on the PSN. Strangely, it’s never been offered at discount or part of PlayStation Plus, a real shame as it is slightly overpriced at £8.99.

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16 Comments

  1. Now this is going back a bit

  2. The last guy is full of awesomeness.

  3. Great game. I never did complete it though. But it’s one of those games I every so often just boot back up, since it’s so easy to pick up and great fun. Might even play it tonight.

  4. I picked it up for free with my Japanese account as part of the Japanese welcome back package (after the PSN attack). Fun little game.

  5. I thought i had seen this reduced once, but i had no idea what it was exactly, so didn’t want to take a punt (even if it was reduced, it wasn’t by much).

    So it’s effectively ‘snake’ with enemies & obstacles then?

    • More like Pacman with people to rescue, I would say.

      • Ah, funnily enough that was the other analogy I was thinking of, but then i got stuck for the tail as Pac Man has no friends.

        He apparently does have an estranged wife though, which might go some way to explaining it.

  6. Blimey, £8.99? I was going to pop home and give it a try right up until that last paragraph.

    • Was the last time I looked (which was a while back I admit).

  7. I got stuck on the Trafalgar Square level and could never get past it so gave up. Any tips?

    • I think thats where I was stumped, and couldn’t for the life of me get the VIPs in the level with the big park. Was it central park?

  8. i think i played the demo, i didn’t enjoy it.

    • I might be wrong but I’m sure I’ve seen you say this a few times before. Copy and Paste? :P

  9. I scrolled down through my 70-odd psn games a few days ago and this was right at the bottom (yes, even below super rub a dub :) ) which shows how long it is since i played it. I’m fairly sure i got it on discount which is just as well as i wasn’t very good at it and only managed a few of levels.

  10. I bought it ages ago at £4.99 – when did the price go up?! It is a fantastic game though. I’ve never been able to beat it and I dont care – hours of fun losing lol!

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