Sometimes, there are genres of games that we simply won’t be good at. Our skillset doesn’t lie in certain types of gaming. I find myself in the minority when it comes to roleplaying games. No matter how hard I try, I’m not very good at them. That’s why my time with The Last Hero of Nostalgaia has been irksome. It’s brilliantly made, but I just cannot get into the gameplay aspect – no matter how much I want to.


This game’s story is a mix of narration, item lore, and what you learn from talking to NPCs. I am unable to provide you with much information about it because it is a mix of all three. Thus, you get more information as you progress. However, to have a realistic understanding of what is going on, you need to reach a certain level of progression. I like the narrator, he’s sarcastic and a little bit mean, but in my opinion, all the best characters are a little bit mean.


Your STICK FIGURE is dropped unceremoniously into the tutorial after being altered by sliders and perfecting facial features in the character creator. The tutorial you have to figure out by yourself because if the narrator can’t be bothered to put in any effort, then why should the narrator? I won’t spoil it by telling you how it plays out. You should be on the lookout for some familiar nods to another franchise, though.


A bridge … or anything in a Soulslike … should never be trusted.


The gameplay of The Last Hero of Nostalgia is similar to Nioh and I assume the Soulsborne games. I say “assume” because it’s a third-person slash-em-up with combat that can be frustratingly hard, and because I’ve played a couple of hours of Nioh but haven’t played any of the Soulsbourne series because it can be mentally draining. I have played several other “Soulslikes,” though, so that has given me a pretty good knowledge of what makes them good. This will be a case of if you know, you know. If you don’t know there’s no hope for you. But if you learn these mechanics it will be well worth your time.


Do Soulslike fans amongst you looking for a new challenge, while not wanting to stray too far from the path, find The Last Hero of Nostalgia appealing? The biggest one is that you’ll die a lot, so that’s one ticked off the list. I know you all love hard games. As someone who sucks at these games, the difficulty is tempered to still feel fair, so don’t give up if you’re having trouble, you’ll get there, I certainly did.


I wonder what’s inside…


It is expected that a Soulslike will have a decent amount of exploration, and this is evident even in the tutorial. I won’t spoil things, but don’t leave the library without finding a key first. As with all of these games, the obvious path might not be the best one for you. Secondly, we need firm but fair combat, which I have just mentioned, is definitely there with the stamina bars and the slightly awkward lock-on mechanics that you guys n’ gals love.


Last, but not least, you need a great story, (very well written and voiced so far,) and a shit ton of item lore. This is also there, but you have to find it after you find the item. It’s another important mechanic I won’t elaborate on, but let’s just say information is powerful. The last thing you need to do is go collect your things every time you die, and that’s also there. Therefore, The Last Hero of Nostalgia satisfies our expectations pretty well.


He’s such a nice guy, the Narrator!


The Last Hero of Nostalgia is a faithful member of the Soulslike family; however, is it enjoyable? It really depends on what fun means to you in my particular case. I like the game and I am having fun playing it. Having been pulled back, I think I might be interested in completing this game and seeing what it has to offer in the future.


Although I’m not entirely sure I’m having fun exactly, I find the gameplay enthralling and exciting. I’ve barely scratched other games in this genre and put down my controller in frustration. While my heart beats out of my chest as I barely escape all the things wanting to smash me to bits, I’m not sure if that’s what I’d call a good time.


Well, the narrator is back and they’re starting to give some spoilers. Without giving too much away, there’s a very Stanley Parable feel to this character. I love fourth-wall-breaking storytelling–this game has plenty of it. You’ll get that sense that you’re not just being told a story but also talked about as an outsider. And then you realize that the narrator is working against you as much as they are telling your story. I’ve circled back to this point because there are some important connections between the story and the art direction used in this work.


By the way, the art is something you’ll have to experience yourself, since there are a lot of really cool aesthetic switches going on that I’d like to let you see rather than just describe. Fans of the genre will really appreciate some brilliant in-jokes as well. All in all, you can tell the developers love this style of play and everything that comes with it.


It’s on fire and trying to smash me!


Soulslikes like The Last Hero of Nostalgia probably aren’t the most difficult to pick up for people new to them. Even the most basic enemies in these games get the best of me, and mobs are always a headache for me as I have trouble locking on to them. Even though I didn’t die in the first five seconds, I managed to get to the first sub-boss on my third or fourth attempt. I got eaten within a minute, but this isn’t bad for me.


Despite the fact that I wasn’t quick enough, I went back in to try again because I didn’t feel this NPC was too hard. The fact that the rest of us can have a fair shot at Dark Souls is a real bonus, since this isn’t a game made for those of you who can run it blindfolded. Nothing feels cheap.


This game is a Soulslike game with tough but enjoyable mechanics and smooth gameplay. It also has very well-constructed storytelling. Those of us who want our games tougher will love this title!


A retail copy of the game was provided by the publisher for this review.


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