You may know Hello Games for their one big game—No Man’s Sky—a game with a fair bit of notoriety but also a lot of love. Through great perseverance the company has made a name for itself, and it is clear that Hello Games wants to be known for more than just its magnum opus, and that is where The Last Campfire comes in—a somber yet striking little puzzler.
Taking control of a little ember, players will have to guide them through a world full of many similar embers like themselves in search of meaning and helping those who are stuck in a pit of despair. Finding these lost embers triggers puzzles for players to complete, and there are many mechanics found within these puzzles to keep them interesting until the end of the game. The music follows the mood of the overworld yet emphasizes the pain of the embers that wallow in their sadness as you ‘untangle’ it of sorts like the therapist you are. And although the game is voiced by a single female narrator, her voice does well to match the dialogue and explain the story beats as you progress through these dark lands.
The puzzles are not just found inside these lost embers, but also outside. Exploring the overworld will require problem solving, whether its talking to the permanent residents of these lands and working out their problems or trying to push onwards into the next area. There is no active danger in the overworld, but it is possible for you to get ‘put out’, so to speak, so caution is advised. I never felt like I spent too long in one area, and figuring out the challenges was quite fun. The audio work does a great job of providing the proper ambience and really helped in making me feel quite alone on the journey.
The Last Campfire is relatively easy to complete, and while the story is fairly surface-level when it comes to exploring meaning, loss, and frustration, it is easy for everyone to understand and that is good enough. The visuals are dark and the sun rarely strikes through, but its art style and music are cohesive in that they are pleasing to the eye and kept me interested until the end. Indie puzzler fans would know off the bat if this game is for them, and I do think that for the average gamer, this is definitely a title worth playing. As for me, both this and No Man’s Sky has me eyeing Hello Games for whatever they have got next; I think it is safe to say they have earned that eagerness.