Developer: The Game Kitchen
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
App Reviewed on: iPad 3

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

One might wonder how a game such as The Last Door – Chapter 1: The Letter, with such an incredibly pixilated visual style, could possibly work as a horror game. Turns out it’s not all that difficult when a developer like The Game Kitchen is involved.

lastdoor05A man receives a troubling letter from an old friend, and so sets out to check up on him. When he arrives at the old manor he finds it seemingly abandoned; with only a few scattered notes offering up any clues as to why. The game uses a fairly simple tap interface reminiscent of most point-and-click adventure games: tap a location to move to it, drag a finger across the screen to reveal interactive elements when the cursor passes over them, tap an inventory item then an object to use the two together, and so on. Players must find their way around the mansion, picking up useful items and discovering more clues as they slowly start to piece the puzzle together.

The Last Door’s visuals take some getting used to, especially on the iPad’s big screen as it makes the blockiness all the more apparent. However, it doesn’t take long to get drawn into this horrifying adventure completely. The creepy music and totally unnerving audio effects make up for any lack of visual detail, and soon the ill-defined environments become all the more disturbing since players are left to mentally fill in the finer details (the twisted face of a relatively fresh corpse, the bloody aftermath of a crow feeding frenzy, etc) on their own. It makes everything that much more terrifying.

lastdoor09The simple interface can feel a tad clunky at times thanks to the occasional unresponsive tap, although thankfully there aren’t any puzzles that require pinpoint accuracy or specific timing. I was more put off by the performance issues, honestly. They don’t come up often, but when moving through larger areas (mostly long corridors) the frame rate tends to chug and break up the immersion somewhat. It’s also a relatively short experience, however this is really just the first chapter in an ongoing adventure so that’s to be expected.

The Last Door – Chapter 1: The Letter is a truly disturbing tale regardless of the simple graphical style. It’s incredibly easy to get pulled into this horrifying world (even with the frame rate issues), and adventure game fans should definitely check it out. Just be aware that it’s only the first part of a much larger story.

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