Hello Games’ “The Last Campfire” is a slightly older game released in late August 2020. However, the game recently went on sale for the Nintendo Switch and thankfully caught my attention.
“The Last Campfire” is a charming puzzle game focusing on themes of loneliness, fear, sadness and hope. In it, you play as Ember, a traveler who has lost their way.
In your journey to find home, you come across “forlorn” – small creatures who appear very similar to Ember, who sit frozen as a statue. Interacting with a forlorn will transport you into a parallel dimension with a puzzle.
While most of the puzzles are relatively simple and aren’t too difficult to find the solution for, it doesn’t take away from the game. “The Last Campfire” is more story-driven, but the puzzles add an extra layer to the game.
Completing the puzzle will bring life back into the once statuesque companion, and they will speak a little bit about their life before returning to the central campfire within each level.
Even though the puzzles are on the simpler side, they are still gorgeously designed, keeping the game interesting. The puzzle to save each forlorn feels unique to them and centers around their personal struggles.
“The Last Campfire” may have pretty simple gameplay mechanics, but it is still an absolute joy from the moment you press play.
The world is gorgeous, and the art direction accompanies the story nicely, with an easy-to-love, simply-designed protagonist.
The game also has a sort of storybook quality to it. The story progression is more linear, but you can still help the forlorn characters in whatever order you choose.
As you progress through the game, a narrator helps to push that storybook aspect of “The Last Campfire.” Rachel August delivers a fantastic performance as the game’s narrator, calling out the actions Ember takes and providing insight as to what Ember is feeling or what caused a character to become forlorn within their puzzles.
All of the narration is done in the third person, and August voices all the characters, somewhat like a parent or grandparent would when reading a bedtime story to a child.
The narrator also becomes a character of themselves, providing encouragement and support to Ember when they need it.
“The Last Campfire” is the perfect bite-sized adventure and can be beaten within approximately five to six hours. It is on various sales depending on platforms until March 6. It can be purchased at full price after that for $14.99 on the Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and through Steam or the Epic Games store for PC and Mac computers. “The Last Campfire” is also available on iOS devices through Apple Arcade.