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PAX West 2022: The Last Hero Of Nostalgaia's Snarky Narrator Was The Highlight Of The Weekend - The RPG Files

Joseph Bradford Posted:
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Previews The RPG Files 0

As I sat at the Thunderful booth at PAX West, the screen in front of me loaded into a simple, slider-based character creation screen. Sliders for skin color, age, body type - even endowment - were available to mess with, but they made zero difference on the character on screen. It doesn't help that the character I was creating was a nondescript stick figure, eager to take on the world around him.

I howled with laughter, causing the person next to me to stop playing and look at me sideways. The Last Hero of Nostalgaia had me in its grip. 

The upcoming title from Over the Moon Games is an action-adventure title that doesn't take itself too seriously. Set in a world fueled by nostalgia, the story sees that vibrant world fading, from glorious, detailed art back to the retro pixel-styles of video games of yesteryear. Nostalgaia is the world of video games and is seemingly under assault, one that sees frames drop and resolutions drop even lower.

However, a new hero - the aforementioned stick figure - is here to try to put a stop to this and save the world. While the Stick Figure seems poised to accomplish this, even the narrator can't wrap his head around the concept, even going so far as to deny rolling the intro to Nostalgaia because this truly can't be the hero they hoped for.

There are also classes you can chose from, including the Datadin that are the champions of fidelity, while the Resolutionary sees the world differently than others. Each favors a specific stat you can focus on, such as Vitality or Dexterity, allowing you to create the perfect build.

This sets the tone for what was probably one of the funniest games I've played since I would laugh out loud to Discworld 2 in my bedroom growing up. The narrator, cynically following the action on screen, is never truly convinced the hero will amount to anything, even conjuring up changes to the story that see enemies attack him or bosses appear. However, through it all, the Stick Figure proves the narrator wrong.

This all works because the actual gameplay of The Last Hero of Nostalgaia is incredibly responsive and tight. A Soulslike in every sense of the term, players will need to be patient and strike when they can, as the combat, while it feels fair, can also be unforgiving. 

The demo saw me exploring what looked to be a ruined castle, complete with the snarky Narrator providing commentary along the way. Enemies themselves are flattened memories of themselves, and in fact when you defeat an enemy you absorb its Memory. These Memories are the currency you spend to level up your character, buy items, and more, much like the Souls in the Dark Souls franchise. 

As I wandered around what turned out to be the Narrator's Library, enemies would pop up, eager to put an end to my pixelated madness. Equipped with a Scimitar and a Shield, I fought my way through the 15-minute demo, picking up items to restore my health, armor which can apparently be strapped onto a stick figure as if it were a hulking, muscular hero, and more. Towards the end of the demo, the Narrator had thrown a few tricks my way, including rewriting the story to include an ambush across a bridge, as well as turning a normal enemy into a mini-boss that proved a difficult fight. 

However, at the end, I can across a Beacon, which the Narrator describes as a "conduit through which heroes once communed with Nostalgaia." It's here you'll level up and more, much like the campfires in Elden Ring, but curiously when you activate the Beacon the otherwise pixelated and retro look of the surroundings suddenly becomes much more detailed, almost as if by communing with the Beacon, the hero has started to restore the fidelity of Nostalgaia itself.

The demo ended with me getting my butt handed to me by the boss, the Spirit of Heroism, sent by the Narrator to shut the Stick Figure down. My normal Soulslike ineptitude shined through, with me being unable to accurately predict the movements of the enemy and dodge appropriately (the winding down demo timer doing me no favors as I tried to finish the battle before the demo time ran out). However, despite this, I walked away from the booth rather surprised at how much I enjoyed The Last Hero. From the humor that reminds me of games I played when I was younger, like Discworld 2 or Medieval to the challenging nature of a Soulslike, there's plenty to be excited about here. 

As it stands, we'll be waiting till later on this year to check out the rest of The Last Hero of Nostalgaia, as it's slated with a release date simply of "2022." However, when it does arrive on Xbox consoles and Steam, I'll be right there to show that Narrator what's what.


lotrlore

Joseph Bradford

Joseph has been writing or podcasting about games in some form since about 2012. Having written for multiple major outlets such as IGN, Playboy, and more, Joseph started writing for MMORPG in 2015. When he's not writing or talking about games, you can typically find him hanging out with his 10-year old or playing Magic: The Gathering with his family. Also, don't get him started on why Balrogs *don't* have wings. You can find him on Twitter @LotrLore