Last Day of June Review

lastdayofjune

I’ll start this review by getting the obvious observation (that everyone has already made) out of the way. Why is this game called Last Day of June if it was released on August 31st? I hate it when titles lie. Seriously though, the titular June is a young artist who tragically died in a traffic accident, one fateful day, on the way back from a romantic picnic. In this game players assume the role of June’s lover Carl. The bespectacled baldy was in the car when June passed away. Although he survived the crash, Carl sustained injuries that have confined him to a wheelchair. How depressing. Thankfully when Last Day of June begins Carl acquires the power of time travel. Can he use his new ability to undo the tragedy or will he discover that altering history is impossible?

OVERVIEW

Last Day of June’s intro sees Carl uncover four mystical portraits that depict his neighbours. Touching the watercolours transports Carl to the date when June perished and gives him control over the painting’s model. By possessing said villagers players need to find a way of averting the fatal collision. Sounds simple enough, but sadly the past is not so easily manipulated. Every time an event is tweaked some new disaster occurs that kills June. Early on I was able to keep the kid, whose dash across the highway caused the crash, away from the scene. This was accomplished by having him play with a kite elsewhere. Job done? Nope. In the new timeline June dies swerving off road to evade a cardboard box spillage further up the street. Those things are deadly, as Solid Snake will attest to.

At its core, Last Day of June is a third person puzzle game. You pick a character, use their unique skills to solve brainteasers and then see how your handiwork impacts June’s future. The little rascal I mentioned above for example is too scrawny to open heavy gates, but his short stature allows him to squeeze through fence holes. Another character of note is the local hunter, who has to use his faithful hound and a musket to chase after a medal-pilfering bluebird. Meanwhile the blonde with the nice rack can clear away slippery leaves. Um, did I say rack? I mean she uses her nice rake to clear away said foliage. Aside from the puzzles there are also collectables to locate, which reveal snippets of each character’s backstory.

VERDICT

My rating for Last Day of June is four stars. The gameplay is clunky, load times are long and the inability to skip cut scenes can be annoying, but it matters not because the emotional storyline is beautiful. It’s remarkable how expressive the characters are, in spite of the fact that their dialogue is limited to Sims style gibberish. Each time Carl is unsuccessful in rescuing June his rage and despair are palpable. I think the game’s soundtrack helps to accentuate the onscreen drama. The music’s quality should come as no surprise given that Carl’s tale is based off a Steven Wilson tune. Visually the game is impressive too. I dug the stop motion marionette like character designs and how the environments have an oil painting aesthetic to them.

Unless you have no heart I can highly recommend Last Day of June. Buyers will however have to deliberate if they wish to pay now for a title that can be finished within a few hours, or wait for a future price discount. Given the title’s linear structure there isn’t much replay value once you reach the ending. Watching the game via a Let’s Play would suffice for most people, although I think that walking a mile in Carl’s shoes and solving the game’s conundrums yourself adds to the experience. Technical niggles aside, developer Ovosonico deserve praise for a job well done. I’m so awed that I’ll forgive them for the deceptive title. Last Day of June? The game came out in August! Ovosonico why did July to us? May god forgive your fib. Okay the review is done, time to march off.

17 thoughts on “Last Day of June Review

  1. I like it when a game provides a good and meaningful story as well and is not just a means to propel yourself forward from point a to b. I don’t know if you ever played Alan Wake, but talking about a very good storyline that one is really worth checking out. Even though I don’t play computergames these days anymore, I still enjoy reading about them if not looking at videos for new games. Thanks for sharing your thoughts for this one šŸ˜€

    • Last Day of June is a bit like Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, in that the emotional story eclipses the puzzle solving. To be honest, these days I play on my console more for the narrative than the gameplay. I’m not the only one, based on Telltale’s popularity. Their releases feel like a choose your own adventure movie more than a traditional game.

      Thanks for the recommendation. I have heard of Alan Wake, but never played the game. Sadly I don’t do much gaming on PC and I have never owned an XBox. If it ever gets ported to a system I own I’ll check it out.

  2. I missed this one (too busy with other games) even if it was on my list. I enjoyed Ovosonico’s previous game, Murasaki Baby, so I will give this a chance soon. I only read the part of the score, trying to avoid spoilers, so I will comment again once I play it.

    • Hope you enjoy the game. I think Murasaki Baby should be in my console library, as it was a free PSN Plus title a few months ago. Once I finish Nurse Love Addiction on Vita I’ll give Baby a download. The reviews have been positive and after Last Day of June I am keen to try something else from this developer.

    • You are not alone in comparing the visuals to a Burton animation. The lack of eyes has a creepy feel to it, which he would appreciate. Although the world is colorful the story has some dark elements to it too.

    • Yeah, I got the exact same feel. It’s not an exact match, but there’s enough of the elements there that it doe lend an interesting, kind of nostalgic vibe to it.

  3. *prepares “last day of June joke*
    *is headed off at the pass*
    *reads what the story is actually about*
    *insert “That escalated quickly!” meme*

    Anyway, this sounds really good. Never heard of it before, so I really want to check it out now.

    • I had never heard of this game before either and bought it based off the PSN trailer alone. Being an obscure title ain’t so bad, because not knowing what you are getting yourself into makes the story more impactful. If you check out the game, via playing or watching it, I hope you enjoy it too.

    • Haha, I can see what you mean (even if I had to look up that word.) I think the character designs work in the game’s favor. Photo realistic designs probably wouldn’t have worked for this game. Plus it helps distinguish the title from something like Life is Strange.

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