Last Encounter offers players a chance to dive into a roguelike twin-stick shooter with up to three of your buddies. Armed with a host of pilots and ships, players set out to save the galaxies from some unavoidable doom that threatens to reak havoc on the universe as we know it. As a fan of the genre, I was eager to fire this up on the Switch and see how Exordium Games has married a traditionally challenging genre with the fight, die, repeat nature of a rogue-lite. So grab that coffee, kick back and enjoy our Last Encounter review for Nintendo Switch.
Armed with a myriad of component-based weapons, pilots and ships to choose from, players begin the game saturated in one of the games’ greatest strengths; options. Unlike many other titles in the twin-stick shooter genre, Encounter offers players a vast array of options when setting out int the deep unknown. In the case of ships and pilots, these choices are more than simple cosmetics. Each offers its own set of strengths and weaknesses allowing players to cater the combat experience to their preferred playstyle.
Weapons, on the other hand, are only limited by the components you find and your imagination. As you progress, you’ll discover new and interesting components that can be slotted together to create your own unique array of devastation. With the rogue-lite nature of Last Encounter, it gives you plenty of time to experiment and refine your weapon choice, allowing for more powerful tools to complete each sector. It was a great spin on the rogue-lite genre that makes sense in the world of a twin-stick shooter. It helped keep me coming back for more as experimenting with weapons and strategies is a great way to keep me interested for a time.
Speaking of sectors (the game’s word for levels), you’ll quickly discover that each is procedurally generated. This helps keep the replays fresh and interesting. Last Encounter offers a pretty nice range of tilesets, each with a distinct theme. I specifically appreciated how each tileset brought with it not only a visual change but offered new environmental challenges that allowed you to choose how you wanted to engage with them. It once again helped keep things fresh amidst a pretty basic gameplay loop.
This is the one area that I did struggle a bit with as the game went on. I totally understand that rogue-lite genre is all about a simple formula; fight, die, learn, repeat. There is, however, a key feature that sets great a rogue-lite apart from the average a one. The gameplay loop has to always be engaging. Unlike some genres, where story or progression mechanics can make up for the loop, rogue-lites are designed to kill you and make you stronger; what keeps you coming back for more is that gameplay loop.
In the case of Last Encounter, it just seemed to be missing that extra little bit to make it a truly engaging gameplay experience. Don’t get me wrong, Encounter was fun, for a while. Eventually, though I found myself getting bored with the simple combat, AI and encounters.
Even with my modded weapons it just wasn’t as engaging as it could be. Enemies felt similar despite visual distinctions and the AI always seemed to follow the same basic pattern for engagement. As a player, the game became more about flying the infinity loop (think COD Zombie mode) and hoping my health and shields held out until everything was dead. It’s unfortunate really because Exordium has proven that they can bring fresh ideas to some pretty well-worn genres.