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Imbalanced relation of size and difficulty (RR #10), November 18, 2012
Last Resort by Jim Aikin is a large, ambitious mystery/fantasy game.
The player controls a teenage girl (unfortunately we don't learn much about her other than she's rather superficial and shallow) who, as we soon learn, is heading towards a rather grim destiny in the course of the day. To escape your predicament you have to perfectly solve a large number of puzzles which I would easily label INSANELY DIFFICULT. Herein lies the main problem of this game.
The player's puzzle-solving ambitions are hampered both by invisible timers and dead ends, which is an absolute no-go in a game of Last Resort's magnitude! The inclusion of puzzles which can only be solved in a short window of time completely contradicts with the game's non-linear approach to gameplay. Twice I progressed through a larger part of the game, only to be stumped with finding me in an unwinnable situation. (I gave up afterwards, as would most people.)
It is really a shame this game is held back by this ball and chain, because the writing and general approach are quite good. The game's events are somewhat unrealistic, but to a degree that can easily be forgiven. (Spoiler - click to show)An example: Would you really let the girl you are going to sacrifice later in the day wander around freely? On the other hand a more interesting main character would likely put the player over the edge of trying to complete the frustrating puzzles. (In such situations, the game Portal always comes to my mind.)
To summarize, brave players might find quite some fun in this monstrous game. It's a trip best aided by the complex hint system. (I asked the permission of the author to post the password - the usage of one should never be necessary in the first place! - here.) (Spoiler - click to show)Password: Gertrude Stein