LifeisXbox’s The Last Friend review | If you bring out a game where dogs are the main feature, you can bet I will jump right on that game. Recently, developers The Stonebot Studio and Ludus Games, and publisher Skystone Games released a game called The Last Friend. A title that mixes tower defense and brawler into one tight game. Set in a world where humans are distracted by chaos, destruction, and rampant mutants, the worst thing you can imagine happens: the dogs are disappearing! You’ll play as Alpha, who is one of the victims of this tragedy, and you’re determined to find the cause of all this dognapping. As you can see, it’s all about doggos in The Last Friend, so damn, count me in!
ℹ️ | Maui played The Last Friend for 6 hours on PC. This game is also available on Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.
What we liked!
- Tower defense meets brawler | I’m not the biggest tower defense fan, but I do enjoy some classic Plants vs. Zombies. When I saw that The Last Friend tries to combine this genre with the brawler / beat ’em up genre, I got a little curious. Could they pull this off? Well, let me get straight to the point: they did. As you build turrets and defenses, you can also go and attack the incoming enemies, all of them! It all felt very chaotic but in such a good way that it still felt organized somehow. I never lost track of my character in the chaos. It is quite interesting that you’re trying to keep two things in the game, instead of one. On the one side, you’re tower defensing your van, but on the other side you’re defending yourself. If either your van’s or yourself’s HP is reduced to 0, you’re done for. The developers managed to balance the two genres just perfectly and I’m definitely a fan!
- Choose your team | Before starting a game, you’ll be able to put together a team. Of course, there are only a certain amount of spots available in your team so you’ll have to choose carefully. You can pick Turret Dogs like your starter dog T. Juan who uses scrap based projectiles to deal damage. This is the only dog will always be in your team. Other Turret Dogs you can choose from include the german shepherd who puts up barriers and the cocker spaniel who traps enemies for a short period of time. The more levels you play, the more doggos you’ll unlock! The second category of dogs you can choose from, is the Skill Dogs, like the dalmation that uses water to slow down enemies or the chowchow that infuses your attack with flames so it deals fire damage. The last category is filled with Super Dogs. There’s a special spot reseverd in your team for a Super Dog. Super Dogs help you with some extra power moves so these sure come in handy as well! Usually, putting a team together is pretty simple, but the further you progress in the game, the more difficult it gets because of all the available doggos. With 12 Turret Dogs, 24 Skill Dogs, and 6 Super Dogs, you are in for a ride!
- Rescue dogs | At the end of a level, there’s a doggo to be rescued, that is if you manage to survive all waves in a level. You just simply click and they are rescued out of their cage! Then, you can name the dog, or just keep it the way it is. Every new doggo has abilities that will help you in future battles. You can set up camp at any time and take look at all your doggos gathered around the camper. And this is where there is a fun extra feature: you can pet all your babies right there! Petting them also means getting to know them a little better, and it’s just wonderful. As a big lover of doggos, I really enjoyed this part of the game. Seeing all these breeds represented in the game really melted my heart!
- Keeping it interesting | Of course, we don’t want the levels to get repetitive. Luckily, the developers managed this quite well. Sometimes, there will be boss fights, and these were a very welcome change of pattern. Other variations in levels include clearing the road for your van, and this just means pushing pressing the right combination of buttons on your controller or keyboard. Besides there being different types of levels, every level also has three goals to achieve. The first one is always clearing the stage, while the second and third one are keeping the RV’s HP over 60% and having no damage to the RV at all. I would’ve liked to see more variation in these objectives too, but still, having them is already great. The stars you earn by completing these objectives are needed to upgrade your van. Besides these stars, you’ll also be collecting dog treats. These can used when visiting Lube to upgrade your dogs so they get stronger. And it that isn’t enough, there are also like side quests for allies to complete so that’s fun!
- Doggopedia | A little extra that you can access is the doggopedia. In here, you can find all the information you need. If you want to take a look at all the doggos you’ve encountered so far, you’ll go to the friends tab where each doggo is shown with a little explanation on their character, their skills, and a quote. You can also consults all your turrets here but also take a look at your allies, like Lube where you buy your dogs’ upgrades. You can even check out all your enemies (or well, the ones you’ve run into). And last but not least, there’s a guide on your moves. Don’t remember how to perform an uppercut or how to use instinct? You’ll find the basics of the game here, so no worries!
- Engaging dialogue | If you’re looking for humurous conversations, you’ll be satisfied with The Last Friend. In these types of games, I tend to skip dialogue and often the story too, but in this case, it’s definitely worth taking the time to read everything that’s going on. I assure you that you’ll often get a laugh out of the things opponents say, simply because they are so silly. It’s a nice addition to keep the conversation interesting, and honestly, I think it’s amazing that they also focused on this when already providing such fun gameplay.
- Looking and sounding good | The Last Friend is looking pretty good. If I’m being honest, I was definitely more focused on the gameplay since it’s so much fun, but yeah, the graphics are neat as well. All the different kind of doggos were amazing to discover, and it was always pretty clear what dog what pictured even before the breed was shown. The fights look pretty decent, and the different types of enemies were really cool to watch. The soundtrack of this game was what it needed to be, so nothing to complain there either!
- A tad too easy | There isn’t really any difficulty curve in The Last Friend. Yeah, sure, some levels are easier than others, but overall, it all felt a bit the same. I think for some players this might put a damper on the experience. Usually, you can clearly see difficulty increase, but in The Last Friend you just cannot. It’s a fairly simple game that will challenge you but only up to a certain point. I personally didn’t mind this and just ended up enjoying the game as is, but be aware that, for example, the first and twentieth will probably feel about the same, only more elaborate.
What we disliked
- Bugs | I so wish this wasn’t the case but unfortunately, there are some bugs in The Last Friend. At one point, I ran to the right, trying to get on enemies as soon as possible, but somehow my character got stuck and I just couldn’t see him anymore. What happened next, sucked even more. A boss enemy came and killed my character, and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it since I lost control, and sight, of my character. Very sad because this meant starting the level all over again, a level I was super close to finishing!
- Keyboard is terrible | So, I tried playing The Last Friend with both my keyboard and a controller. Let me make it easy for you: don’t even try to use the keyboard because it’s not optimised at all. My entire game blocked when trying to play with the keyboard on my laptop, but when I tried with my Xbox controller, everything worked perfectly. I does kind of suck that the keyboard isn’t optimised if you’re going to release a game on PC, so the developers definitely need to work on that. So, use a controller and you’ll have a blast!
How long to beat the story | 10 to 15 hours
How long to achieve 1000G | 20 hours
Similar with | Plants vs. Zombies BUT WITH DOGS!
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Head of PC team. PC, Switch, and Xbox game reviewer. Also a marketeer, concert and animal lover, and photographer in training 🙂