Here’s something interesting coming your way: A Last Song from Anomalie Studio. It’s not an exclusive scoop, but you won’t be able to play it at the time of writing this. Have faith, though; this is one you should wishlist immediately if you’re a fan of rhythm games and Ghibli.

The Studio Ghibli reference wouldn’t be my go-to, though it is a cute and colourful experience and couldn’t have come at a better time. First, this demo came my way during Christmas, so there was some downtime. Secondly, I got a MIDI keyboard and have been learning to play. My rhythm has definitely improved.

How do I know this? I’m making progress with the musical app I’m subscribed to, but it was more noticeable with A Last Song’s demo, as usually I’m way off. It was disappointing that this couldn’t be played on the Steam Deck. Playing it on the computer with a keyboard soon made it apparent why: the controls.

You play Melobot – a droid that comes equipped with built-in pan pipes; only they aren’t those cringy ones you hear down the high street with some well-travelled chap wearing a dodgy cowboy hat, a miss-match of Peruvian clothing and a cardboard box listing the price of their CD with a Sharpie. It’s pretty soothing.

A Last Song Demo - Create this
Create this! Source: Steam

The Melobot has awoken to solve polluted plants by playing tunes and breaking them out of their doom clouds. A Last Song is a mix of The Gunk and Plants Vs Zombies. Honestly, it’s nothing like those – the similarities are too foreign; just note that there’s pollution and plants.

After calibrating the keys, that is, playing them, you set out to save the plants by clicking where Melobot goes with the mouse and playing tunes with the keyboard. The keys for the notes are Q, W, E, A, S, D, Z, X, and C. That seems straightforward enough, but it’s unlikely you’ll have committed that to muscle memory, so getting used to it takes some time.

The controls get tricky in real-time when enemies are about. Holding two keys together will send out a soundwave that destroys enemies (some respawn almost immediately), whereas another combo heals the bot. Using these combos while moving around – especially when Melobot keeps moving past a spot you’ve clicked on- can be irritating.

A Last Song Demo - Tunes
Tunes. Source: Steam

Fortunately, it’s all forgiven when you play the music to the plants. There are a variety of plants to experience in A Last Song demo, and they each have musical patterns for their revival. Often, the tune will be played, and then you copy the button presses in time for a potential three-star rating. As I said, this came at a good time, as I often got the Virtuoso (3-star) score. Hey, it’s my site. I can brag if I like.

Besides rescuing these plants, there’s an ongoing narrative where you communicate back and forth with your creator, who introduces a skill tree, unlocking upgrades. It’s beyond the scope of these first impressions to grasp it, but generally, these upgrades improve upon Melobot’s shield and general efficiency – poo-pooing all those minor issues I whined about initially.

So yeah, you’ll have to trust me on this one – A Last Song needs to go on your wishlist, so once the public demo comes out, you can play it too and get a feel for it. I love music but have always been crap at playing it. A Last Song is a little more forgiving and accessible than most rhythm games, plus it has a wholesome story attached, too.