Title: Last Voyage
Cost: $1.99; currently on sale for $0.99
Platform: iOS 7.0 or later
Last Voyage, by Semidome Inc., is an abstract puzzle game inspired by science fiction movies. It features hypnotic, minimalist graphics that often consist of simple geometric shapes; but also more cinematic scenes that pay homage to icons like the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Black, white, and red are the dominant colors throughout, with occasional surprise appearances by blue and green. The pulsing, 40-minute original soundtrack adds immensely to the experience.
Told in five chapters that can be played individually, or moved through in order, it has been compared to other cinematic games such as Monument Valley and Lost Sounds. While Last Voyage doesn’t present a traditional narrative, the idea that you are embarking on a mind-bending journey through the depths of space is strong and ever-present. Each player is free to imagine their own reason for the journey, and their own interpretation for each chapter.
The game chapters alternate between puzzle challenges and challenges that test the speed and accuracy of your thumbs. The puzzles in Chapter1: Astral and Chapter 3: Mind are presented with no instructions; half of the fun was in figuring out the key to solving each one. I thought that these might not be much fun once I knew what I needed to do to solve them, but revisiting Astral a few days later, I discovered that several were just as challenging the second time around. Getting through some of the harder ones in half the time as before was also somewhat gratifying.
The other chapters, the ones that require quick thumbs, offer minimal instructions. Even with these, however, it took a long time for me to pass Chapter 2: Void. First I had to train my thumbs to swipe in the right direction. After failing many, many times in the early stages of the game; I found that timing became even more important during the later stages. I had to fail many more times before finally making it all the way through. The soundtrack helped to keep my going, though. During this chapter, it sounded to me like the perfect accompaniment for plunging through a wormhole, and I really wanted to see what lay on the other side.
This is a game that I would enthusiastically recommend to all young fans of puzzle games, science fiction, electronic music and any gamers with a big imagination.