Taking A Trip With Last Voyage

Like Year Walk and Device 6, Last Voyage is one of those miniature-sized iOS titles that feels more like a virtual experience rather than a conventional video game. Spanning little more than an hour, it’s an audiovisual odyssey that combines music and imagery with simplistic game mechanics. It can sometimes put style before substance, yet there’s something powerfully alluring about Last Voyage as it revels in its own anarchic brand of tranquillity.

Despite the name, there’s no real sense of narrative in Last Voyage. You’re definitely on a journey to somewhere, that much is clear, though where to and why remains a mystery throughout. Semidome has cut away the guide ropes and, in doing so, has allowed the player to interpret what’s going on for themselves without the usual narrative signposting. That said, there are vague hints towards an underlying theme, embodied within the several passages of text that bookend each part of the game.

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Last Voyage sets fire to the rulebooks elsewhere; each of its ten “chapters” accessible right from the get go and playable in any order. Although the conservative player will balk at this break in chronology, it hardly has an effect on the game whatsoever, and this is due to the lack of connective tissue binding each chapter.

Instead, they can all be classed as miniature self-contained experiences, taking anywhere between five and ten minutes to complete. There may some minor repetition here and there, but for the most part each stage is its own entity, defined by a mixture of sound and graphics. Aside from bearing a particular motif, chapters will revolve around one or more types of puzzle – if you can call them that.

Woven into the on-screen aesthetics, they often require players to interact with objects using your device’s touch and tilt functions. Some are way more intuitive than others, which is especially true thanks to the lack of instructions or gameplay tips. Instead, Last Voyage looks to test your logic through unconventional means as well as trial and error, inviting you to swipe, tilt, and tap away until you can figure out how to progress on your own.

That’s not to say it’s completely devoid of familiar gaming tropes. A number of sequences, although tagged with a trippy concoction of visual and sound, will rely on deft finger movements in order to weave in and out of objects. Another convention that manages to wrangle its way in is the checkpoint system which also allows plays to continue their progress from where they left off.

Whether playing yourself or catching a cheeky look over someone’s shoulder, it’s hard to argue with the game’s presentational quality. Although minimalist throughout, the 3D graphics are superbly stylish, accentuated by an alien soundtrack. I can’t say whether I truly enjoyed the music or not, yet it held me in state of trance nonetheless.

Chances are, everyone who plays Last Voyage will have different things to say about it. I thoroughly enjoyed the audio visual package, but there were a couple of minor pitfalls. Towards the end of the game, the presence of one or two slightly more challenging puzzles broke the sense of immersion I had experienced up until that point. Although later chapters manage to steer it back on track, this lack of consistency was a small letdown, but one I couldn’t quite overlook. Still, if you’re looking for something a little off-the-wall and experimental, there’s plenty of that to be had. It’s just a shame Last Voyage couldn’t keep the same chord ringing throughout the entire journey.

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