How Metroidvania is it? Medium Fit. Has a great mansion to explore, but the mechanics are all something else entirely. Has a pseudo Adventure Game focus.
Primary Challenge: Melee Combat
Time to beat: ~10 hours
Review Info: The Steam review code for Last Stitch Goodnight was provided by the developer.
Buy Last Stitch Goodnight if you like…
- Pseudo-Philisophical Metaphysics
- Amateur Games
- Silly humor
- Creepy ideas (Though without strong creepy execution)
▼ Review continues below ▼
My feelings about this game were a bit of a roller coaster. I was intrigued by the idea of a “Horror Metroidvania”, so I loaded this up for the first time and looked at title screen with its striking red and black aesthetic with high hopes. Then I started the game, and characters started talking. All hope of “horror” flew out the window with a hilarious “blurbibiblur”. I started imagining the great horror games like Silent Hill with all characters using the same Animal Crossing style of “Bebebese” that this game uses. The idea is ridiculous – but I think that the juxtoposition of the silly against the terrifying is an outline one of this game’s biggest problem; it can’t decide what tone it wants.
To be fair, the developers never self-describe this game as “horror” – it’s only the steam tags that gave me that impression. And if my other reviews are any indicator, I have no problem with parody, or even so-bad-it’s good things. As soon as my initial expectations were dispelled, I still had good hope that I could be in for a smartly written adventure.
Of course, the gameplay certainly made experiencing whatever that was a trying endeavor. My chuckles quickly turned to frustration as I already started writing this review in my head – gearing up to say things like “Nothing is difficult, just tedious” and “It wouldn’t be so bad if enemies didn’t come back every single time you left the room.” But this was all my fault. You see, without a second thought I start every game I play on Hard Mode (at least for Metroidvania games) with the expectation that I’m likely going to be bored if I do anything otherwise. Thankfully the good guys at Well Bred Rhino had a description of the difficulty modes right in their game launch news post, and it caught my eye on my second night playing this game. It turns out the primary thing the difficulty does is affect the respawn rate. So I summarily started the game over from the beginning on Easy in an attempt to give this game the fair chance that I think it deserves. I’m glad I did – Though as you’ve probably already guessed by the chosen recommendation that it still comes with some caveats.
Because here’s the thing about my “mistake.” I can’t speak for everybody, but I don’t pick “Hard” modes on games just to have more annoying obstacles put in my way. I do it because I want to be challenged. The problem here is that the combat needs a lot of work to even start being engaging. It has some of the staples of action combat, like a dodge move and telegraphing. But each enemy type (with a few exceptions) has exactly one attack that they do, which they repeat in the exact manner. Once you’ve done it a couple of times that monster becomes boring – and while there’s a lot of enemy variety in this game the differences aren’t enough to make encounters interesting. This is in part because your weapons are slow and wonky, and your normal walk is painfully slow (I basically jumped everywhere I went for the minor speed boost.) Simply put, fighting things is just not fun. And I actually have no problem with that. Disempowering your player when it comes to combat is a completely legitmate approach – and in fact is sort of a feature in a lot of survival horror. Having enemies stay permanently dead similar to Resident Evil or Silent Hill is a more compatible design.
But this game isn’t a survival horror, or is it? I can’t really tell what direction was intended. I think it really should be a horror game, because Last Stitch Goodnight has a lot of GREAT ideas – the execution just comes across as confusing. The main character responds to everything with jokes, taking nothing seriously, which in turn makes me feel like I shouldn’t take anything seriously. But some serious things are happening. There’s an interesting metaphysical science-fantasy that this game adopts and it rolls with a fascinating level of confidence. If it could escape from “Silly Webcomic” and instead be “Creepy-Pasta” – be something like Fatal Frame or even Silent Hill, I think that this could be something amazing. But the art style is kind of wrong for that. The “Sims” style vocals are just wrong for that. But I also think that the ideas presented aren’t funny enough to be parody, especially since it tries to handle some heavy concepts like death and sacrifice with the same jovial tone. I also had a lot of questions by the end of the game, and I was left as confused as the game’s protagonist.
Which suggested to me that there was some kind of secret ending. I felt a little bit compelled to at least try and find it, and in the effort I did find one thing legitimately enjoyable about this game. Exploring the mansion – at least on easy mode – with all the metroidvania power-ups in hand was fun. Some of the sidequests – like with the Animal Experiments – gave me some genuine laughs. I think by embracing the game’s faults there’s at least something here that I can recommend without hesitation, even if after weighing whether it was worth putting in an extra 1-3 hours to find the all the secrets myself I chose not to persist past 83% completion because I don’t think my overall opinion would change even if I found an epiphany.
Especially with these smaller developers, I try to make one thing clear – take nothing personal from these negative critiques. I feel like the worst thing I could do for both my readers and for the developers themselves is be anything other than completely honest with my opinion. I think the negatives here have edged me into clicking “not-recommended”, but I think it’s worth checking out if you like to see good ideas or simply enjoy any kind of well constructed exploration. However, I’m afraid good ideas alone don’t make a good game. Unlike some of the other “on the edge” games I’ve reviewed (like Kingdom of the Dragon), unfortunately I think it’d take a lot more than a little tweaking to make this one completely worthwhile.
With that said, I originally wanted to give this game a 1.5 out of 5 . But my final moments with the game convinced me that there is enough worthwhile here to call it “Flawed, with redeeming qualities.”
Inputs sometimes feel unresponsive due to animation lingering, and each encounter is as deep as a puddle
Technically functional but not particularly deep. Gets more fun with upgrades
Assuming you're on easy mode, the mansion has a lion's share of fun secrets and quests to perform
90s adventure game type puzzles had me shifting through every tool in my pack rather than actually solving problems
Fantastic ideas marred by inconsistent tone and perhaps a lack of clear direction
Graphics contribute to game's lopsided tone and often offers poor conveyance
Catchy Jazz tunes are still stuck in my head even as I write this.
Once you achieve 100% I see little reason to replay on the game's other difficulty modes
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