Game Review: Last Day of June - A sweet game about loss [PS4, PC]
The Italian Ovosonico brings us the Last Day of June, a very special game, centered on love and loss. Though, clearly, this is not the first title dealing with the loss of loved ones, it is one of the few who does it in a "sweet" and smooth way, without causing melancholy with its finale. Its handling is simple and you do not need to know English to enjoy the story, which makes the game accessible to all ages and to all those who need some distraction in a period of psychological discomfort.
How far would you go to save your loved ones? Carl is willing to travel too far, back in time to save his beloved, June. Returning from a walk in the countryside, the couple's car escapes from its course and crashes, costing June's life and leaving Carl paralyzed. Staying in their house, Carl can neither forget his beloved, nor he takes care of himself, leaving the refrigerator empty and eating canned food. Until one day he discovers that, through paintings he finds in one of the rooms , he can go back to that day and change the course of events. What if that boy was not on the way to catch his ball? What if the hunter hadn’t cause landslide by standing on the edge of the hill? What if the girl who moved from the village had tied the boxes in her car? Carl can change them all, one at a time, with you taking on the handling of each character.
The whole game takes place on the small village where the accident happened. Controlling is in third person, with camera rotation possible. Whenever you're near a hotspot with which you can interact, with something you need to get, or just look at, X appears on the screen. The ways in which you interact with the environment are quite limited, although you are handling a different hero at a time. Give a flower to your beloved, throw the soccer ball onto the pots or pick up a rope for future use. Puzzles are mostly actions you are called upon to do in a specific order, such as getting the attention of a character or carrying a box in your car without tapping on fallen leaves. Also, the loading screens that appear before and after each start of the day are delayed, ranging from a few seconds to half a minute.
Every time you do something different with one character, you change the life of the other. If the boy chooses to do something different, instead of playing with his dog, then the dog is available for the hunter, which in turn affects the girl's moving. Your goal is to find that combination of actions that prevents the crash. The problem here is that, after one point, you see the same scenes without being able to access them. Every time you start at the same time of day and end up in the crash, watching the same cutscenes. On the other hand, fortunately, you do not repeat the whole day of each character from scratch but from where you last changed.
Pricing & Availability
Graphics & Sounds
The graphics are beautiful in their own way. The characters have big heads, thin bodies and are missing eyes, with Carl wearing a huge pair of glasses. The environment, with orange and yellow shades, traditional houses and lush vegetation, gives the feeling that you are looking at a "live" painting. The leaves rise in the air when you hit them, the grass moves in the wind and, more generally, dominates a sense of serenity despite the title's theme.
The soundtrack follows the footsteps of the visual, with sounds of nature accompanying the gameplay and gentle musical background to "wrap" the cutscenes. In the world of Last Day of June, people do not speak a specific language, but instead they communicate with expressions and mumbles. It is striking that you do not have to read any text or listen to a dialogue throughout the game to understand the progress of the story.
Last Day of June puts you in thoughts about love and loss, though its finale could pass a message far stronger than what the developers chose. Whatever it is, it's a special game that deserves your attention. Let us know your thoughts and impressions in the comments below.
Last Day of June screenshots (above) and trailer (below)