Proof that as a medium, videogames are a mature form of storytelling that can leave you sobbing.
The first thing you will notice about Last Day of June by Ovosonico is its beauty. Visually it’s as if a watercolour painting has come to life. Its abstract characters mute and yet full of expression convey emotion, intent and personality better than most of the fully voiced caricatures that populate modern games.
The second thing you will notice about it is that while the characters do not talk, the music by Steven Wilson helps to deliver the emotional impact of this poignant tale in ways words never could. By removing spoken language from the game Ovosonico have crafted a tale that transcends language and becomes part prog-rock concept album, part play and part puzzle game.
To go into too much detail about the story would spoil it, but you play as a man, suffering from unspeakable loss on a desperate quest to try and fix the fate that has befallen him. To do this he manipulates time and reality in ways both simple and compelling to add just enough game to this experience for it sit comfortably on my Nintendo Switch. While load times sometimes felt protracted and performance could take a hit, it never detracted from the overall experience.
Last Day of June is a short game, its puzzles just tricky enough to make you think, but never hard enough to halt forward progress through the narrative. You will be swept up in the despair, loss, grief and anger the unnamed protagonist feels and by the end the crescendo of emotions are likely such that even the most cold hearted would be moved to tears.
With its combination of varied guitar lead soundtrack, strikingly colouful visuals, artistically mute characters and emotionally impactful subject matter Last Day of June has already been nominated for and won many awards, including a Bafta nomination within the Game Beyond Entertainment category, so why not one more? Never has a game been more deserving and demanding of being recognised as ‘A Special Game’.
Last Day of June was provided to us by Nintendo/505 Games for Nintendo Switch.