Last Day of June (PC) Review

By Olivia Falk 03.09.2017 1

Review for Last Day of June on PC

Life is a series of choices. What to do, where to go, how to act, and so on. Some choose to live in the moment, focusing on their pursuits with reckless abandon. Others live for those around them, eager to help in whatever way they can. Regardless, everyone is their own person. It's easy to look back on a series of events and think, "What if?" For instance, what if you had turned down that job offer? Then again, suppose you were dead broke and days away from ending up on the street. Suddenly, that job offer doesn't seem like a choice. You may know of some potential repercussions; you may not. The decision remains the same, because, regardless of what hindsight may later tell you, it seems like the only option at the time. Such is the case with Last Day of June, a story-driven title that feels like a puzzle game version of Groundhog Day meets The Butterfly Effect.

After losing his wife, June, to a horrific accident, Carl is stuck in a state of grief. Unable to accept the reality of his situation, he gravitates towards a line of thinking that so many know all too well: "This didn't have to happen". This leads to him diving into the memories of various members of his neighbourhood, each of whom played an unwitting role in the catastrophe. By diving into their memories and making changes to their actions, Carl begins to chip away at the calamitous factors that all seemed to conspire against him and his wife.

Of course, just one change isn't enough. Getting a young boy to fly his kite instead of playing fetch with a dog may keep him uninvolved with June's accident, but may in turn limit the actions of someone else, bringing about the same conclusion in a different way. Thus, it becomes a matter of diving between the memories of various townsfolk and seeing how their personal outcomes affect the bigger picture. It's an interesting concept, and one that provides a surprisingly intimate look at a small community. Despite the game only being a few hours long, it's easy to become well-acquainted with the cast's history and their plans for the future.

Screenshot for Last Day of June on PC

Perhaps the game gets a little too familiar with its setting and characters, though. Every time Carl dives into someone's memory, an unskippable cutscene plays to re-establish how that person's day started. Similarly, the only way to exit a memory is to end the day and witness the outcome: even if it's one you've seen ten times. The game does attempt to abbreviate some of these, but it rapidly becomes tiresome when you have to jump back and forth between multiple stories to experiment with the outcomes. It turns June's emotional gut-punch of a death into a minor inconvenience: something to twiddle your thumbs through so you can keep tweaking the sequence of events. It's an odd choice too, considering the game's short length. It's a game that could easily be completed in a single sitting, so forcing the player to sit through the same cutscenes over and over feels like redundant padding more than anything.

At least the game's nice to look at during these scenes. Last Day of June uses a heavily stylized aesthetic, looking a bit like a Tim Burton film by way of Pixar. Characters have large heads, skinny frames, and indistinct facial features, yet feel unique and personable all the same. Environments look like watercolour paintings, utilizing post-processing to give everything a dream-like quality. Even the voice acting, which consists solely of mumbles, grunts, and the like, manages to convey the subtleties of each character's emotions as they evolve throughout the experience. All of this is backed by a soundtrack that mixes an assortment of styles into a cohesive whole, complementing each scene in which it's implemented.

Screenshot for Last Day of June on PC

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Last Day of June is a frequently beautiful experience, with a likeable cast, gorgeous visuals, lovely music, and an ending that feels like both a logical conclusion and a tear-jerking finale - yet it stumbles when it comes to actually being a game. Its core concepts are sound, but the constant repetition quickly erodes much of the gravitas, especially for players who get stuck and need to spend some time jumping back and forth between characters. It says something that the game was at its best in its final fifteen minutes or so, where much of the "real gameplay" was thrown out in favour of an "interactive movie" approach. Of course, throwing out that gameplay altogether wouldn't do the title any favours, as its narrative and mechanics are intrinsically tied together and designed to play off one another. It's just a shame that one of those halves is decidedly weaker than the other.

Developer

Ovosonico

Publisher

505 Games

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

It looks so lovely, but sounds so sad! It certainly sounds extremely intriguing.

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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