I have been interested in Last Day of June ever since I have seen its trailer so when the game was announced for Nintendo Switch, it caught my eye again after having missed its release on PS4 and PC. I also think that the Switch version makes it an ideal choice because of the ease of use where you can play it either home or for portable use. Last Day of June is a complete story-driven adventure that features a very distinct art style. The game is an emotional tale of how to cope with the reality of life, depression and anxiety that most people face during these tough moments.
If you are like me and appreciate a good story that can also use tragedy to show a picture that often hits closer to home, then Last Day of June will hit all the right notes for you. It might not be an overly complex game, or even a long one, but it is written well and gets its story across to the player leading to a narrative setup that works in context of the game. It is all about the weight of choices that the player has to make in the game, even though the presentation feels awkward at times and the gameplay is not the most ideal way to present such a story.
The story in Last Day of June centers around the life of Carl and his wife June. Carl lives an everyday normal life until tragedy befalls the couple and in one accident, Carl loses his wife while becoming handicapped himself and bound to a wheelchair. The story basically revolves around a sort of time loop where you will try to relieve the memories of the past in an attempt to avoid the car crash so that Carl’s wife survives by the end. Without getting into the spoiler territory , this is the basic premise on which the story works for most of the game and the experience is also unfortunately quite short.
Don’t go in the game expecting a happy outcome, because it is not about that at all. It is an incredibly bleak story that resonates with how one might feel during such depressing moments. The thing that gets in the way of the narrative is how the developers have decided to construct the time loop here. It basically means you will be going through the same repetitive story elements again while also suffering through long load times, and this is unfortunately a major negative for the overall experience.
It is the gameplay portion that I feel like is a little lacking and for something that is clearly aiming to be a game, it shouldn’t be like that at all. My issue was that the story portion with its limited gameplay was mostly neglected to what can amount to a handful of fetch quests. You will control a couple of different characters during the story and the game does a good job in letting you know more about them.
As I have complained about the cutscenes being unskippable, One way the developers could have made the pacing better was to let the player skip most of the cutscenes. It doesn’t appear to be case here and I can understand their intention, but if you are playing the game as a time loop, it can get tiresome after a while. Thankfully the visuals offer a rather interesting look with a colorful and vibrant world so exploring around never felt like a chore to me.
Despite the repetitive nature of the story, which is mostly by design, the game still has a well told story that culminates beautifully. If you are looking for a good story game to be played in short bursts, there is no better choice than Last Day of June. Due to the repetitive nature of the game, it is best to experience it in short intervals and this is why I found it best played on the Nintendo Switch.
Last Day Of June Review (Switch)
Game Reviewed on: Switch
Game description: Last Day of June is an adventure puzzle video game developed by Ovosonico and published by 505 Games. The game was released for PlayStation 4 and Windows in August 2017.
An emotional tale that is extremely short but also worth the time spent if you can get over its flaws. The pacing could be a little better and the gameplay could have avoided the repetitive nature of its design but it is still a good experience overall.