Alright so I finished The Last Day of June a while back, meant to do a post about it and never got round to it because life, what else is new? Well, at long last, here are some pictures and some thoughts; this game provided some refreshing surprises and I’m grateful for that. The thing is with these arty games, they are – overall – really hit-and-miss. If I’m lucky, I find something great, like this, and if I’m unlucky, I end up with something that had potential but suffers from being mishandled, like Kholat or Fe. It’s a risk you have to take when you like to look out for things that are a bit off the beaten path.
So, what about The Last Day of June? Well, what stands out to me most is the poignant way it handles themes that are so easy to screw up on, such as losing a loved one, the pressures of struggling to live up to someone else’s expectations, dealing with loneliness and having to accept that no matter how hard you try, some things just can’t be changed. It’s interesting to see these kinds of issues being handled so well with such a sweet and charming cast of characters and in a really beautiful, idyllic setting. The whole thing gets surprisingly intense towards the end, which I wasn’t entirely prepared for, but it does so in a way that works really well. Then again, the unexpected ending could well have been the result of another thing about this game, which is its atmosphere – I got very immersed in that in a way that’s rare for me, getting right in the moment and just feeling the tone of the story as it changed. While Carl and June are down by the lake, life goes on in the village and it does so at a nice, sedate pace that I was happy to be swept away with. Joining the various characters as they go about their day, collecting their memories and learning about their individual concerns is really enjoyable in its own right, particularly when it comes to seeing all the subtle threads that tie into the main narrative. The lack of intelligible dialogue works in its favour as well; it fits right in with the cute art style and there’s a lot that can be conveyed through a sort-of language based solely on inflection, which really adds to the charm.
The only issue I have, which is a common complaint of this game and is an inevitable double-edged sword, is the repetition. The plot relies on it in order for the final message to have its proper impact, I understand and respect that, but flipping back and forth between different characters’ narratives, changing minor details, ending the day and washing/rinsing/repeating is the kind of thing you need to be in the mood for. Still, that one issue aside, I found this genuinely rewarding and satisfying to play. Had a good time with it, would recommend it. So those were some thoughts anyway. How about some pictures? Because that’s what this blog is for!