There are so many reasons to love dogs but one of the biggest is because they are creatures of pure goodness. They’re adorable, affectionate, playful, and fiercely loyal to those they care about. This makes them perfect companions and protectors as shown by the Stonebot Studio and Ludus Games. These folks have created The Last Friend which is about raising your own dog army. As the tough-guy caretaker Alpha, you’ll need to rescue and guide your furry friends to a better place in hopes of finding safety and peace. These dogs have got your back so it’s your responsibility to have theirs.
What The Doggone Happened?
Pretty much any situation no matter how bleak can be made better by adding some colorful dogs. Things are already harsh when the game begins due to the apocalypse occurring. Strangely enough, despite all the traditional barren wasteland-type stuff, humans have indeed made a recovery using effective yet varying societal models. The problems arise when people start dognapping dogs to be used for their own gains. You play a strong and mostly silent brawler named Alpha who is advised by the snarky yet talented chihuahua, T. Juan. Together, the two must travel across the land liberating as many dogs as they can. The promise of new doggy friends is all the motivation needed.
Whenever you’re with a dog, it’s normal to shower praise upon them for being such a wonderful creature. In The Last Friend, there are things that also deserve some praise. One of them is the overall feeling and presentation of the game. All the controls are tight and fast with levels that you can jump right into and get started. There are cutscenes and dialogue exchanges that provide context and casual humor as a nice coating to the gameplay.
Then there’s the main aspect of combining tower defense with beat ‘em up. Most missions will have you protecting your RV and give you several lanes to set up turrets and run across. Lay down all the turrets you can afford with a sharp radial menu to support each other or Alpha himself. Though good turret placement can definitely handle a lot of problems, the option to tank enemy hits and deal with the most troublesome groups yourself is both effective and quite satisfying.
Finally, there are the visuals. Another game to be made in Unity, The Last Friend is has a lot of quality to it. It’s almost like playing through a Saturday morning cartoon. There are over 30 different dogs with turrets that have three forms to unlock. The enemies and bosses are quite varied and colorful with everything, in general, having solid animation.
Needs Some Training
No matter how much of a bond you may have with a dog, it can be difficult to train them and The Last Friend had some struggles there. The biggest being the overall difficulty. The game is broken up into contained levels that offer up to three stars based on your performance. With little change in mission structure, it’s fairly easy to breeze through all the levels and max out on stars on your first try.
Next, there’s the number of dogs and your team layout. Like other tower defense games, you have a limited number of slots to add dogs. However, both turret dogs and support dogs share the same lineup and T. Juan will always take one of the slots. Pretty early on, you’ll find and stick to a combination of dogs that can take through most of the missions with no problems. Also, considering that dog level-ups are expensive, you’ll end up focusing on a core group of units.
Lastly, there are the bosses. While there’s a fair number of them all with different designs and attack patterns, there’s not much strategy to beating them. Simply pick power-up dogs, spam special attacks, and even the biggest baddies will struggle to get near you.
Lead The Pack
The Last Friend is a combination tower defense and beat ‘em up where a fighter teams up with an army of dogs to save more of them. It’s an enjoyable fast-paced romp with tight controls, quick gameplay, and colorful visuals. It’s a bit too easy and limiting despite the variety of units you find along the way. Nevertheless, it makes you want to doggo on an adventure.
TechRaptor reviewed The Last Friend on Steam with a copy provided by the publisher. The game is set to release on Nintendo Switch later this month.
- Fast-paced gameplay with simple and tight controls
- Blends tower defense and beat 'em up well
- Dynamic art and detailed animation
- Lacks a decent difficulty curve
- Gives you a lot of units and powers but not enough space to use them
- Easy boss fights that require little strategy