Skystone Games has just released yet another post-apocalyptic nightmare onto the market today with the launch of The Last Friend. Thankfully, if you’re a dog person then this futuristic road trip is probably going to be woof your while.
Launched today by indie outfit Skystone, and developed by the combined good bois at The Stonebot Studio and Ludus Games, The Last friend is a bright twist on the post-apocalyptic future that we’d normally expect to see on the open road. Mad Max puns aside, The Last Friend plunges players into a desolate freeway backroad where only a lone survivor and his dog can be found for miles. After coming across a spate of seemingly inexcusable dognappings, that’s what really takes the dog biscuit and battle commences.
A Bright Coat
What proceeds to unfold is a comic book-coated mix of dog puns, tower defense systems, side-scrolling fisticuffs, and an all-around good time. Players picking up The Last Friend will need to tour the backstreets and highways of a modern dystopia, breaking through ambushes, seeing off cultists, and rescuing dogs from a seemingly heinous scheme. Marauding through a larger overworld, this pack of rebels will repeat a simple idea. Stop at a stage, build doggo turrets, and defend the RV that’s parked in the back. All the while a range of raving enemies scroll across this 2D experience and try to knock over the player character to bash what little you have left in the world into scrap. Only, through a series of simple tactical choices, will you pick the right guard dogs to fend off trouble while gallivanting off across the screen to rescue another dog from the pound.
Conceptually, The Last fight is a multi-stage, 2-dimensional tower defense game that apes plenty of genre classics, right back to Plants vs Zombies and throwing in a little Streets of Rage. Right from the off, The Last Friend plays this odd scenario for laughs, where games like Gunman Taco Truck and Double Kick Heroes raced off into the post-apocalyptic comedy, The Last Friend joyfully follows. The bright cartoon cell-shaded animation provides plenty of off-the-wall action and ideas to keep things interesting. The basic build and beat ’em up idea winds through the core of this title and manages to stay fresh thanks to a very obviously upbeat aesthetic, a sharp soundtrack, and fresh stock of upgrades and enemies.
Each stage that players find themselves up against in The Last Friend feels like just a few minutes of action, and even more new levels and themes are just a few stops away at any time. Initially, a basic set of tools are available, but these are quickly enhanced thanks to the dogs rescued. For every paw pulled from the doggy jail, players get a new tower unit or ability to use. Whether it’s an extra HP hound or a Pug bomb turret, the variety of potential loadouts that unlocks quickly fills out, allowing players to pick from a variety of playstyles. It’s easy enough to sit behind a fortress and bunker hard, or head out along a three-lane highway n and use a range of support skills to turn the entire game into a beat ’em up.
Not only can players chose from a huge potential variety of doggos to take for walkies, but these companions can be leveled up, giving towers and terriers extra enhancements when deployed on the tarmac. This thankfully doesn’t make the player character immediately overpowered. The Last Friend is hardly challenging to begin with, focusing more on arcade action than hardcore dungeon crawling. The constant new flow of bad bad people keeps things fresh and means you’re never quite ready to just sit back and let the huskies take all the strain.
All Good Dogs
While I’m not actually sure I’ve come across a huskie yet, The Last Friend does contain a wealth of dogs to collect. The whole concept leans into the dog puns almost as heavily as I have and somehow it makes it charming. The four-legged companions are leveled up using dog treats, collected during combat, and nods to Mad Max inspired road warriors just make it all the more fun when you’re busy trying to find every wayward hound for the in game codex. Heck, you can even make camp and wander round petting the cuties too! The Last Friend isn’t an overly deep game but some of the classics aren’t either. It is a knowing mix of beat ’em ups and tower defense titles wrapped up in a beautiful glossy finish that would make a collies coat seem dull. The pacing is more akin to a mobile title than a night long raid, but that’s all part of this game’s overwhelming charm. If you have a few hours to spare then, whether it’s collecting all the canine cohorts or bashing end of stage bosses, you’ll find The Last Friend puts a smile on your face. The Last Friend is out now on PC. Check out more over on the official Steam Store now.