I am a sucker for roguelikes, rogue-lites, and everything with procedural generation. Sure, there are some games that don’t do it well, but I can’t help but enjoy the challenge of being thrown into a game that changes every time I play. Last Encounter takes these things and brings them into the twin-stick shooting genre, while also blending in sci-fi elements as well.
In Last Encounter, you play the pilot of a ship, aiming to fight back against an alien invasion and save what is left of humanity. After a close encounter of the invading kind, humanity is almost entirely destroyed, leading you (and up to 3 friends in local co-op) to fight back, while collecting components dropped by enemies to enhance and expand upon your own capabilities.
You begin by picking a pilot (of a set of four, each with different stats and playstyles) as well as a ship, each with different stats. You then are let loose on the alien menace, bringing the fight to them in typical twin-stick shooting fashion. You have health and shields, as well as the ability to dash through enemy fire to avoid damage. Your shield regenerates over time, while health requires you to pick up a health refill or a health regen power-up. You travel from sector to sector, killing enemies and picking up credits, power-ups, and components that temporarily enhance your weapon capabilities; from scattershot to homing, these components initially only last for a limited amount of uses, but as you progress you can unlock them on a more permanent basis.
Death is a common thing in Last Encounter, and it serves a purpose, in that you fight alien hordes until your ship is destroyed, then you take the credits you earned (and components) back to base so you can research and grow stronger. I imagine fighting with friends helps the progression go a little faster, as you all aren’t dying as often, but I did find myself limited by the fact that it is local co-op only. For PC games I think online multiplayer makes more sense because you are limited by a few different factors when it comes to local co-op, whereas with online co-op all you need is friends that have the game.
As you explore the depths of space, you will come across recordings from pilots that tried to fight off the alien menace. As you progress, it helps you to piece together what happened to those who came before you, and further reinforces the idea that you are the last hope humanity has left. Boss battles are intense and impressive, requiring you to carefully dodge and learn the attack patterns of the boss. Each boss is different, and you’ll need to think quickly and learn the boss’ attacks to try and survive.
Truthfully, there isn’t much to Last Encounter beyond that. It is a fun experience that can be enjoyed by friends and family if you want a bit of chaotic shooting action. The difficulty spikes in places and that can be somewhat frustrating, but overall the game plays well despite the occasional crash. It would benefit from the addition of online co-op, but if you want to gather around a desktop with a few friends and play then you probably won’t be disappointed.
As a single player experience, I think Last Encounter is a little imbalanced, but it is fun to kill a few hours shooting aliens and trying to get further and further along through an ever-changing galactic landscape. It does get a little boring after a while, but if you need something to kill some time you will feel right at home.
A PC review copy of Last Encounter was provided by Exordium Games for the purpose of this review.
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