Classical art meme & Monty Python lovers’ delight - Four Last Things!
It’s been a while since I wrote a review - HELL, it’s been a while since I FINISHED a game , so I’d like to share my experience with this little game that kept me glued on my chair from the get go.
I’m sure many of you have seen (or even made!) some classical art meme that is taking internet by storm - if you’re not sure what I’m talking about, here’s just one example:
Now, Four Last Things is one BIG “classical art meme” in the form of an adventure game. The author (basically, a one-man band) has taken paintings of many Renaissance-era artists (like Hieronymus Bosch, Francisco Goya, Jan van Eyck…) and cleverly used it all (with an addition of a Monty Python-esque silly little animations) to create a classic adventure game. One might suspect after the intro credits roll, that this is exactly what 7th Level would do if they had made an adventure game today. It’s not far from the truth - the humor is very much like Monty Python (and The Black Adder), with a “late middle-ages absurdity”, though the game plays more like Monkey Island and a classic 2D adventure than Monty Python adventure series, meaning - you don’t “click” your way through, you have a regular inventory with items, a verb coin and plenty of (bizarre) characters to talk to.
The story is about unnamed (I think) older (and not very clever) medieval man who seeks to confess all of his (7) sins. However, as his journey takes him to a local church, he’s notified that in order for his confession to take place, he needs to repeat all of his sins in the vicinity of a county the church is based in! Thus, your goal in the game becomes to sin, and sin plenty!
On your way through the local city, you’ll meet people doing an open brain surgery on an awaken man in the field, greedy lawyers and bank clerks, poets, painters… and in every location in the game, there’s a musician, whether it’s a busking lute player, a pianist, or a full-sized band playing music in the floating giant egg! The music in the background is also a classical art used for the game, like the works of Bach, Vivaldi and others.
The beauty of the puzzles comes from the fact that you already know what to do (sin!), but most probably you’ll come to some of these sins by pure accident. In a way, that concept reminds me of Toonstruck where you “know” you need the opposite-elements to build the machine. Now, this is a very short game (around 2 hours), but there’s been plenty of AHA! moments in a small package, even more than in some 10+ and longer games. Its minimalistic approach (only handful of locations in and around the city, and no more than 7-8 objects in the possession) is used to the maximum effect of a perfect balance between not being bored, and not being hand-held. For 90% of the puzzles, I knew I was on the right path even before solving it. Also, some of the puzzles have a perfect multi-layer solution to it - just when you think you’ve done all to impress a local “Beautiful Woman Reclining on a Bed of Plump, White Pillows”, or beat the obnoxious Pie King in the Pie eating contest, you need to “upgrade” the solution a bit.
Finally, what can I say? Definitely one of the best adventure game released in the last couple of years I’ve played (and finished!). It’s full of character (even though it “borrows” from different works), and you know the game is good when you can’t wait to get to the next screen or talk to the next guy, in order to simply hear more jokes, or pay attention to those little details in the background, all joined with a clever puzzles. Some complaints I have: there are lots of repetitions for your actions, and so in that regard one shouldn’t expect “Daedalic”, but more of an old-school responses to player’s actions. I see a missed opportunity here (because the humor is definitely above average, but not “plentiful”), especially because there are many empty parts of paintings-locations, without giving a hotspot/interaction to everything you see (and you’ll see plenty!). Even bigger downside is the aforementioned small, “indie” character of the game and the fact that it is quite short. Perhaps the potential success of Four Last Things could inspire an author for even greater
sins deeds in the future. Thumbs up! And now (for something completely different), few screenshots from the game:
Recently finished: Four Last Things 4/5, Edna & Harvey: The Breakout 5/5, Chains of Satinav 3,95/5, A Vampyre Story 88, Sam Peters 3/5, Broken Sword 1 4,5/5, Broken Sword 2 4,3/5, Broken Sword 3 85, Broken Sword 5 81, Gray Matter 4/5\nCurrently playing: Broken Sword 4, Keepsake (Let\‘s Play), Callahan\‘s Crosstime Saloon (post-Community Playthrough)\nLooking forward to: A Playwright’s Tale