April 19, 2024
2.5D Platformer One Last Breath takes you on a journey to save Earth, but is it worth saving? The Finger Guns review:

You’d be sorely mistaken – and probably in your 30s or approaching – if you thought Moonatic Studios were making a game based on the hit song by Creed. No, instead the Spanish developers have made an eco-conscious 2.5D platformer that draws some very obvious inspiration from the Playdead titles, Limbo and Inside.

Known for their subversive narratives, low poly visuals and ingenious puzzle-solving, One Last Breath definitely looks to attempt to replicate the magic that came before it. I’m a fan of this newfound genre of thought-provoking platformers, so to find another title following a winning formula felt like a no-brainer to try out. Is One Last Breath a breath of fresh air? Or a sorry excuse for oxygen? Let’s get into it.

Nature’s Curse

The world as we know it is sick. Thanks to human’s excessive use of pollution and overall greed, everyone’s extinct. You play as Gaia, Mother Nature’s last attempt at restoring Earth. Outside of the pollution zones nature is taking back its land and animals roam the lush greenery. However, the closer you get to the man-made facilities the more perilous your journey.

Polluting hazards destroy the trees and Demogorgon-looking creatures creep around the empty halls. With the game being completely barren of dialogue and no humans to sense emotion, there are some neat environmental storytelling to soak in. The plot is quite basic though, don’t expect some Inside-level revelations to utterly shock you.

By the end, I wasn’t overly enthralled by the journey I had experienced. One Last Breath is easily completed in 90 minutes to 2 hours and with the short run time, there isn’t much of a hero’s journey to playthrough. Think of the first outcome the game could have and you’d probably be bang on in your estimations.

Fulfilling The Last Wish

As far as 2.5D platformers go, One Last Breath does a decent job with how the platforming feels. You have your left stick for movement, Cross to jump, Circle to crouch and Square to interact with objects out in the world. With a simplistic control scheme, the game has distinct yet subtle visuals that indicate the mechanics of the puzzles.

Gaia has a wheelhouse of powers that you learn along the way. They range from a lasso-type ability to cross long gaps to a shield to protect yourself from toxic fumes. In the latter stages of the game, there are moments where you utilise multiple powers to solve the puzzles in the way but it’s almost a little too late and far too few of them.

Outside of that, you’ll be moving objects to climb on, levers to pull to open doors – that kind of stuff. As someone who’s accustomed to this genre of game, I was almost subconsciously solving them and not really having to think unless it was so obvious that I looked past it. Much like the story, the gameplay is very inoffensively simplistic – engaging enough to feel entertaining but not really exciting.

Seeking Greener Pastures

Despite the playthrough time, I couldn’t tell you how many times I had a floor break beneath my feet, sending me to a new area. It’s an overdone trope that is beaten to death in One Last Breath. Then you have the chase and jump off a ledge to get away from an enemy which has also been seen before.

Other moments that have some of their own original methods of puzzle-solving feel a little unpolished. Gaia is fine to control when there aren’t many stakes, but if you’re facing death and precise traversal is key (I’m looking at you saw blades) it starts to feel a little unpolished.

I wish the game had some original moments because it would definitely have elevated as well as set itself apart from games like Limbo or Inside. However, it encroaches on almost ripping off as opposed to being inspired and the game’s themes become overshadowed with copied gameplay.

Choose Earth

One Last Breath’s art style, whilst derivative of the titles I’ve already mentioned, does the look justice. There’s a stark contrast to the vibrant greens of the reawakened forest and the industrial facilities that rid Earth of life. Gaia spends most of their time in the latter; different shades of grey cascade across the labs, looking very bleak yet still eye-catching. You’re swallowed by the colossal environments as harsh white lights cast shadows in the background, creating some subtle paranoia.

Gaia themself is a strange creature. Sporting a white bob, grey skin and a shoulder piece very similar to Marvel’s Spawn, and then some boxer briefs and a couple of green lights to finish the look off. There’s no rhyme or reason to the design, they don’t look treelike or anything natural in fact, so it was hard to come to terms with the looks. Then you have the enemy creatures which there are two variations of.

The main one you’ll come across are the Demogorgon-like creatures I mentioned before, except with a hand that sticks out from its back and protrudes above its head. Then later on you’ll get a giant centipede version that hangs from the ceiling to grab you, but that’s it. They’re thrown into some of the lateral traversal puzzles but they have no intimidating presence to fear or even care about.

One Last Effort

After beating the game and clearing up the trophies for the platinum, I didn’t come away overly disappointed. One Last Breath is unashamedly a copy of games that have done it better, but it doesn’t overstay it’s welcome and plays good enough to be frustrating.

I do wish there was more overt storytelling to get an important message across about our own economical usage. One Last Breath is a lot of good ideas and great inspirations that could have carried it to being a great game. However, the execution is sadly less than that, but given the short runtime and decent enough gameplay it’s just okay.

One Last Breath doesn’t wear its influences on it’s sleeves, but rather took the whole shirt as it doesn’t do enough to differentiate it from the games that came before. A short runtime and decent enough gameplay does make it pleasant enough but it ultimately doesn’t push for more.

One Last Breath is available now on PlayStation 5 (review platform), PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam.

Developer: Moonatic Studios, Maniac Panda Games, Catness Game Studios
Publisher: Moonatic Studios, Catness Game Studios

Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we were provided with a promotional copy of the game. For our full review policy, please go here.

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