Title: Last Day of June
Publisher: 505 Games
Genre: Narrative Adventure
Available On: PC, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Official Site: https://505games.com/games/last-day-of-june
Release Date (for the Switch): March 16, 2018
Where to Buy it: Steam, PlayStation Store, Nintendo eShop
In August of last year, indie developer, Ovosonico, released their narrative-driven title, Last Day of June, for PC and PlayStation 4. The Nerd Stash was lucky enough to get their hands on a copy when it was first released, and we had primarily great things to share. The game was just released on the Nintendo Switch, and we were given a chance to revisit this magnificent tale of life, death, and love. And, just like before, Last Day of June exceeds expectations.
Considering a lot of what I want to say is already explored in our earlier review of the game by The Nerd Stash vet, Andrew McMahon, I’ll keep this one short, simple, and to the point. The story centers around newlyweds, Carl and June, and their life after marriage. One day, they take a trip to their favorite lake, only to have their special moment interrupted by an incoming storm. As they’re driving home, Carl loses control of their vehicle due to–as you come to see–numerous different reasons that are all possible based on the choices of different characters you encounter and play as throughout Last Day of June.
What begins as a simple tale of love quickly turns into a saddening journey through time, a journey of one man’s enduring grief. To remember the past with his wife, June, is to live in pain. But, to forget… Would that make him feel better?
If you’ve read any of my previous reviews or articles, then you know I’m a sucker for a good story, especially one that enlightens its audience with a deep and resonating message. In Last Day of June, there’s all of this and more. It’s poetry in motion; imagery spread out like paint on a canvas. The missing eyes of all the characters remind you that, although life can be easy to get used to, sometimes it’s hard to accept death. You see what you want to see and forget about the rest. The portraits you have to travel through with Carl continue on with this theme: you can “remember” or, by the end of the game, “forget.” But you don’t get to choose which one; the game selects for you (a nice touch).
You learn through the collected memories, and by visiting the cemetery with the kind, old man, that all the characters have experienced loss in some way or another. The man shooting his gun lost his father, the boy lost his best friend, the old man lost his wife. It’s hard for Carl to realize that death is a natural occurrence in the circle of life. Good thing he’s so adamant about finding a way to save June, for life had an interesting way of surprising him in return for his unrelenting love for June.
Luckily, Carl smartens up and recognizes how he can change the accident to work in his favor: he must sacrifice his own life to save June’s and his unborn baby’s, the surprise June wanted to tell him at the lake. Carl learns to accept death as a natural occurrence in life, to do more than live with the grief of loss. Instead, he uses these fantastical abilities given to him to change the course of history. It’s beautiful and poetic in so many ways. So many that I realize I’m rambling and “forgetting” to keep it short.
Last Day of June on the Switch is a nice addition to Nintendo’s collection of indie games. Like 505 Games’ other recent release, Portal Knights, it’s a perfect fit for the handheld console. There isn’t a lot going on for you to worry about. The objective is clear: save June by aligning the different characters’ “End the Day” choices so that there’s no accident. You don’t feel constricted in any way by the Switch. There are a few areas with sudden FPS drops, but even these don’t take away from the overall experience.
The only real issue I have (although I agree with one of Andrew’s problems with the game as well: unskippable cutscenes) with Last Day of June is not having the ability to save the game. It’s a short game, so I only had it happen to me once. But when I left the game and closed it out from my Switch home screen, then came back to it, I found my progress had only been saved to the most recent time I finished a portrait where I avoided the car accident from happening. I was then forced to backtrack, which, like the unskippable cutscenes, made the game longer than it had to be.
Despite these minor flaws, Last Day of June deserves all the praise it has already received, From its poetic storytelling to the unique way the creators tell that story with its breathtaking graphic design and soundtrack, there’s more than enough for everyone to enjoy.
Verdict: A worthy title, indeed. Last Day of June overcomes its minor techincal difficulties by exploring difficult themes with an emotional, and excellently written, story. Its indie roots shine through, and that’s what makes this game so great. The characters are designed like they’re molded out of clay, expressing emotions almost perfectly; no dialogue is needed to understand the message. Like the missing eyes, all of the details put into these designs have meaning. Layered like a carefully crafted wedding cake, Last Day of June succeeds in maintaining a realistic connection with its players while taking them on a speculative journey through time… and the meaining fate.
- Poetic, sad, and beautiful
- Story is rich with imagery
- Graphic design
- Well-suited for the Nintendo Switch
- What Andrew said in his review!
- No saving
- Random FPS drops