We're living in a great age of 2.5D platformers, and Moonatic Studios' upcoming game One Last Breath is definitely one to keep an eye out for. At PAX West 2022, we got to sit down with the developer and get a hands-on One Last Breath preview to check out the gameplay and some of the early levels for ourselves. With an art style and atmosphere reminiscent of PlayDead's Inside, One Last Breath is a fun and at-times anxiety-inducing game where your goal is to attempt to heal a world that is dying. The only question is: will you be able to survive?
Not to be confused with the Creed song of the same name, One Last Breath has the player taking control of Gaia, a personification of nature itself. Set interaction points throughout the game allow the player to manipulate nature, like overgrown roots blocking the path ahead. Puzzles start off fairly simple during the introductory period to get you used to the world's rules, but quickly become more complex as you have to figure out how to open doors, reach platforms, and ultimately escape from enemies hell-bent on chasing you. Speaking of the enemies, they might be the most disturbing part of this entire experience.
There's No Way to Fight Back in One Last Breath
Despite the environment showcasing a polluted world that seems to have moved on from humanity, there are moments of tranquility as you work out a puzzle or explore an area, especially when you move past the polluted cities and get into the forests. Peace never lasts long though, as One Last Breath is overrun with grotesque monsters that will chase you and kill you. There's no way to fight them – you're only choice is to run away, and get away fast. The enemies will often appear from behind cover in the background and quickly pursue the player.
At one point during our One Last Breath preview, a puzzle involved stepping on a switch to open a door to proceed forward. As that door opened, another door was opening in the background, releasing one of these awful monsters. Since you had to wait for the door ahead to open most of the way before running through it, you're forced to stand still as this monstrosity gets closer and larger. When asked about the enemy design, Project Director and Lead Game Designer Eneko Zubiaurre described what the team's goal was.
"We wanted to make the player uncomfortable," Zubiaurre said. "We wanted to make something where the player didn't understand what they are."
Zubiaurre told me they wanted the player to have more questions than answers by the end of the game, encouraging multiple playthroughs for those who love the game.
One Last Breath Preview: Final Thoughts
One Last Breath focuses heavily on the relationship between humanity and nature, and what we can do to help improve a world on the brink of collapse. While discussing the themes of this game, Zubiaurre told me they wanted to create a game that had a neutral impact on the environment. That's why for every Wish List on Steam, and for every Platinum Trophy when the One Last Breath release date arrives, Moonatic Studios will plant a tree.
One Last Breath will be a fairly short and contained experience, but there will be secrets to uncover along the way, as well as multiple endings. One Last Breath is (mostly) a calm experience punctuated by moments of sheer terror. This was one of the highlights of PAX West 2022, and we can't wait for the full One Last Breath release date in 2023.
TechRaptor's One Last Breath preview was conducted on PC at a demo booth at PAX West 2022.