The Last Friend Switch Review – Save Every Last Doggo!
The Last Friend is an interesting title that we have been following for a little while now, and this is one that combines the beat ’em up genre with tower defense. That is not normally a combination that gamers think will work together, but this title does a lovely job blending the two genres.
But is The Last Friend a good boy? Or does this hooman need some more time to train his brawny muscles? Let’s find out!
We are in a post-apocalyptic world where humanity is once again distracted by all the chaos, evil mutants, and other problems while simply trying to survive, but this time there are doggos involved! You play as Alpha, a hooman, alongside his doggie friend T. Juan, and interestingly, T. Juan is the brains of the operation while Alpha is the muscle.
Well, according to this story, Alpha is the last friend of the doggies, as the mutants are hellbent on taking all of the world’s dogs! Is that true? Hmm… it is not super-clear, but the pair work together to save doggies and recruit them to their team in hopes to save all the doggos!
The Last Friend is not the deepest story, but this is absolutely an adorable one that perfectly plays into this interesting and creative title. Alpha is a brute that keeps to himself while T. Juan is the mouthpiece that does all the trashtalking when it is necessary. The characters are a lot of fun, the comedy is excellent, and the story is genuinely interesting despite its simplicity. But the real magic is in the gameplay.
The Last Friend really is an interesting combination of two genres that do not normally come together. This is equal parts beat ’em up and tower defense, but the tower defense side is much more akin to the original Plants vs Zombies, where the game exists on horizontal lines that Alpha can build on. The unique side of this one is that Alpha can also run around beating up enemies while the turrets, shields, and more do their thing.
In a way, it is a lot to keep an eye on at one time, as Alpha can collect parts and build in the middle of enemy waves. Thankfully, things slow down as you are selecting your build, but taking the time to build also takes away from Alpha’s opportunity to fight. One of the trade offs happening in The Last Friend is setting things up to basically keep the RV from taking any damage while Alpha tries to take out as many enemies before they reach the first line of defense.
In addition to standard stages where you face waves of enemies as you build a defense and beat them up, there are also trials that serve as fun mini-games, camping to level up your RV, an NPC that levels up your doggos, and of course the occasional boss stages. It is a wonderful variety to keep things fresh as you play, and each new area presents more doggies to rescue and hazards and enemies to deal with. I love the overworld maps and their similarities to old titles like Super Mario Bros 3, too.
Rescuing dogs is so important for The Last Friend as well, as each dog joins your team and adds support. There are turret dogs and skill dogs, both of which serve Alpha differently. Turret dogs do exactly as they sound, they are built onto one of the lines for their intended purpose, whether that be a shield, a gun, water to slow enemies down, bombs, and others. Skill dogs, however, give Alpha direct support, aiding him as he runs around. They can help heal turrets, increase the damage of Alpha’s special abilities, or even heal. As you play the game, more dogs become unlocked meaning more teams you can create. Figuring out your preferred team is all part of the fun!
One issue I faced with The Last Friend is the difficulty. If you are familiar with both genres, this is not the most challenging game, as I felt myself breezing through stages and challenges. There were the occasional ones that provided a bit more strategy than others, but for the most part, I barely experienced stages where my RV was ever in jeopardy. For players who are not strong at either genre, this may be a great starter game to give you a feel for the unique Plants vs Zombies style of tower defense as well as some simple beat ’em up strategies.
As you progress, more slots will open up, which means more dogs can join your team on a stage, and you will also gain access to elemental properties like electricity and fire which opens things up a bit more. It creates a lot more variety, and if you are a fan of dogs at all, this will surely please you from so many angles. I mean, not only can you rename each dog you save (EXCELLENT!), but you can camp at any random point on the map to pet your doggo friends and share gossip with T. Juan.
Overall, The Last Friend is an excellent blend of two very different genres, and it highlights one of the best animals to ever grace the planet. The story is simple yet fun and engaging, the vast variety of dogs to unlock is amazing, the excellent artwork is perfect for the title (Especially all the different doggo designs!), the soundtrack is stellar all the way through, and the massive amount of options for your team creates so many possible scenarios and options for you.
Sure, it may be a bit on the easy side, especially for veterans of the genres, but this is absolutely worth your time and energy. The Last Friend is seriously one of the best games I’ve played in 2022 so far, and this is one that I will find myself revisiting time and time again just to pet the wonderful dogs.
The Last Friend Switch Review provided by Nintendo Link
Publisher: Skystone Games
Developers: The Stonebot Studio, Ludus Games
Release Date: April 21st, 2022
Game Size: 3.5 GB
Interesting blend of two genres
Beautiful art work
Oftentimes hilarious commentary
ALL THE DOGGOS!
Not the most challenging title for veterans of tower defenses
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My name is Jason Capp. I am a husband, father, son, and brother, and I am a gamer, a writer, and a wannabe pro wrestler. It is hard to erase the smile on this simple man.