Someone put Metroid and melee combat into a wound and sewed it all up into one pleasing package.
Indie developers of all shapes and sizes seem to love taking water from the Metroidvania well. Many high profile indie releases over the past few years routinely use Metroid and Castlevania as inspirations for their games, and they create experiences that play like typical Metroidvanias. Well Bred Rhino's Last Stitch Goodnight may not be an endeavor by a huge indie developer, but it makes for that in its oodles of humor, charm, and smart level design. It's just other quirks that needed some sewing up.
Your character is injected with a mysterious substance by Dr. Dooley, whose presence is dooley-ibous at best (I was going for "dubious" if you didn't catch the joke), and knocked out cold. With the threat of your character's body being experimented on for unknown research, one of Dr. Dooley's assistants intentionally drops a screwdriver to help you help yourself out of your cell.
The screwdriver is the first of many tools that you come across throughout Last Stitch Goodnight. As you progress through the myriad rooms, chambers, areas, and pathways throughout the game's sprawling mansion, you pick up new tools, serving not only as "keys" to new areas, but also to serve as weapons in battle. Things like candles can shed some light to dark areas, but they can also burn a baddie pretty badly (ha, ha alliteration rules).
|That being said, sometimes things in the dark are best to actually not have to LOOK at their scary selves.|
|A saw right through the-- whoa.|
|*Singing with the Transformers theme* Ro-bah-ots: Robots in disguise!|
Thankfully, most quests, important points of interest like vending machines, save points, and fast travel warp points, and even health upgrades are clearly marked on the maps you can purchase. These are done at said vending machines and show most of the blueprints for a given section of the mansion. Not all is revealed, so you will have to do some searching for rooms not revealed through the purchase of a blueprint.
Last Stitch Goodnight uses a mix of 2D characters and side-scrolling and 3D environments with many moments in transitioning between rooms that you'll pass between planes. It reminds me of Paper Mario in some regards, obviously without the ability to roam all around the 3D environments and instead being limited to a 2D plane. I'm talking aesthetics, folks-- so Last Stitch Goodnight reminds me of Paper Mario's aesthetics, so the comparison still works, alright?! In all seriousness, besides some chugging with the frame-rate, the visuals are very pleasant. Audio-wise, the music is suitable for the various environments, and I even found myself humming along with some of the tunes, or at least bobbing my head around. Some of these themes are more atmospheric than others, but a lot of them have a defined melody that can stick with some players. They certainly did with me. Outside of that, talking characters sport mumbles instead of actual speech, but it's charming and not grating like say, Banjo-Kazooie might be nowadays to players.
|Don't make a "this enemy drives me batty" joke! Don't make a "this enemy drives me batty" joke!|
Last Stitch Goodnight does suffer from stiff combat, limited strategy in typical encounters, and some bugs that are still being ironed out, but it's an appealing Metroidvania with engaging level design, smart boss battles, and sharp, witty humor. Well Bred Rhino's small size as an indie developer doesn't mean it had to create an unambitious game, because Last Stitch Goodnight is far from that. Instead, Last Stitch Goodnight is a cut above quite a few releases from bigger devs with bigger budgets that left me laughing in stitches a lot of the time.
[SPC Says: B]
Review copy provided by Well Bred Rhino.