The soulslike genre is often very bleak, and stuffy. Most soulslike games deal with a post-apocalyptic society, and there really isn’t’ much humor to be found there—despite The Last Hero of Nostalgaia’s attempts at finding it.
The Last Hero of Nostalgaia is a third person action role-playing game that is a parody of Dark Souls, while satirizing video games as a whole. Yes, it’s still a pretty difficult game with risk/reward gameplay, but it also employs humor to make it stand apart from its peers. There are references to other games abound, but at the heart of The Last Hero of Nostalgaia is a soulslike where you’re a “hero” entering into a world that has seen an acute shortage of them. The world is in decay, and you must explore it, fight enemies and bosses, and finally uncover the truth.
First of all, as a soulslike game, the way combat feels is extremely important. The Last Hero of Nostalgaia does a decent enough job, but never quite feels as tight as From Software’s offerings. You can dodge, parry, riposte using a variety of weaponry. Surprisingly, locking onto targets feels pretty janky. Hitting targets doesn’t feel that great, either, with hit detection feeling slightly off.
Enemies in The Last Hero of Nostalgaia are exactly what you’d expect to find in a soulslike, with the insane (but weak) starting enemies, fast and aggressive dog-like enemies, and large armored enemies with giant weapons. Enemy density can feel inconsistent, with some areas flooded with foes while others seem to be mostly empty—but not knowing what to expect can keep you on your toes.
Throughout The Last Hero of Nostalgaia there is a narrator that serves as the source for most of the humor in the game. While the writing invokes Terry Pratchett and even Monty Python in parts, it even dabbles a bit in Stanley Parable territory. Despite its humor, The Last Hero of Nostalgaia has some decent satire on what a soulslike is, and even manages some poignancy.
The level design in The Last Hero of Nostalgaia appropriately apes Dark Souls is a number of ways, including maps that double back on themselves with shortcuts that work as a means of progression. The level design is pretty well done, and while it takes cues from From Software’s works, there are a few twists that make The Last Hero of Notalgaia’s level design work perfectly for its theme. For instance, most of the shortcuts go through NPC staging areas—back rooms with muzak playing, refreshments and anything else the NPCs might need before emerging and fighting.
Graphically, The Last Hero of Nostalgaia is ugly. This is intentional, as the world is regressing from a fully polygonal one into low resolution 2D sprites. While this effect can be blamed for how ugly The Last Hero of Nostalgaia is, it’s not an excuse. The juxtaposition between low resolution and polygons could have been handled with a little more finesse. Sometimes this effect is used well, especially with player gear, but overall I would have preferred a more attractive art style.
The Last Hero of Nostalgaia comes recommended, but mostly because it’s a Dark Souls clone that takes the gameplay from Dark Souls, and attempts to change up the setting with the addition of humor. It’s not a bad game, and its attempts at parody are a breath of fresh air for the somewhat stagnant soulslike formula. However, The Last Hero of Nostalgaia doesn’t quite measure up to Dark Souls in terms of storytelling or mechanics, but it does end up feeling a bit like a mash-up of Terry Pratchett and Dark Souls—something I never knew I wanted until now.
A Steam key was provided to us for this review.