Last Horizon is an Action Indie game where players navigate through space. As a pilot of the last vessel of humanity’s fallen civilization, players must venture into the unknown where black holes, comets and aliens meet them along the way. The game was both published and developed by Pixeljam, creators of Dino Run DX, Glorkian Warrior and Gamma Bros.
Last Horizon offers a lot of incentive with it’s emphasis of exploration and atmosphere. Unlike other Pixeljam games, the focus of this game appears to be on the player’s ability to navigate a small space shuttle while enjoying the visuals and peaceful music. If anything this game lacks, Pixeljam deserves the commendation for the atmosphere of the game.
First and foremost, Last Horizon does not actually implement much focus towards the action, this is because the five levels player navigate through do not imply much interaction between the player and environment. In fact, players often avoid the environment such as black holes, comets and shooting stars. In fact, the game emphasizes and promotes the explorative mechanics by adding three functions; Oxygen, Fuel and Ore. Each planet contains a set amount with the sentient life planets offering enormous amounts. Players need to navigate each level while occasionally landing on each planet to gain health from the ores, Fuel and oxygen as too long in space depletes it completely.
The concept of the game is simple, however the gameplay often feels atmospheric but plays much like bumper cars. While the controls are concise (using arrows keys to steer and boost with fuel), the space shuttle often gets launched by the slightest collision. If anything, the biggest downfall is the lack of longevity and playtime Last Horizon provides. The lack of levels, story and simple gameplay leaves much to be desired as the five levels can be completed within an hour. Last Horizon provides lacking gameplay, as the only real interaction or challenge is landing the space shuttle on a planet. With moments of frustration sprinkled throughout the game such as the lack of planets in some parts of levels which causes the level to reset and five minutes lost. As levels do provide some variation in changing it’s design slightly, but even this can be overlooked by the repetitiveness Last Horizons gameplay provides.
Despite the lack of gameplay or incentive within it. Last Horizon does provide a peaceful feeling of navigating space with the ambient music. The sound design coupled with the wonderful art and style demonstrates what Pixeljam are capable of. Pixeljam shows that not only do they understand what is required to develop and publish such a relaxing experience, but also innovates that experience with bright, colourful planets and obstacles that feel unique. However, in regards to the aesthetics is the actual objects on the planet, it is often hard to discern what objects are harmful to your space shuttle and those that are simply a background.
This leads onto the new point, while the graphics and sound are wonderful. The game has no options to either tweak the difficulty or make adjustments in-game. While controls are explained in the very first level, the game has no options menu to even adjust the sound volume or disable the sound completely. With a game like Last Horizon, it would of been nice for Pixeljam to implement the option of difficulty; Either scoring higher points for the leaderboards or using cheats (much like Dino Run DX) and allowing players infinite health, ore and fuel to soak in the levels and atmosphere.
This brings us onto the conclusion of Last Horizon. Last Horizon is a game that provides pleasing visualization, nice variation of planets and allowing the levels to immerse the players. The ambient soundtrack gives both a relaxing and navigational feeling to the game, however, the game severely lacks options, levels and gameplay in comparison to previous Pixeljam games. With no options menu and only 5 levels, players will find it difficult to fully enjoy the gameplay beyond a couple of hours.
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