Stick (Figure) To The Plan: The Last Hero of Nostalgaia

Ready for a Souls-like that makes a bit of fun at your predicament yet isn't a sloppy parody? Try The Last Hero of Nostalgaia on Steam.

Yet another Souls-like? Had enough? Me neither. The Last Hero of Nostalgaia is something a little different, though. Featuring a timeless hero at the helm, that is, a stick figure which could hold its own with the visuals seen in Pong, you’re in for something… unique, should you pick it up.

Should you pick it up? If you don’t, the narrator will hunt you down and spin a monologue in your shell-like for life. Hell, he does it throughout, and it could be seen as one of the high and possibly low points of the game. It’s a little monotonous sometimes, but then it’ll turn on its head and have you chuckle to yourself. Until you’re killed with an axe to the head. True story.

The Last Hero of Nostalgaia plays out like a Dark Souls game from the outset as you get to create a character, pick a class, and change their attributes to your choosing. Whoa there, Nelly. Why isn’t their appearance changing from a stick figure? This is the tongue-in-cheek humour throughout the game that makes it so different from any other Souls-like. While it takes the piss, it brings you along on the in-jokes, and the gameplay never feels like a parody.

The Last Hero of Nostalgaia Review - Photoshopped abs
Photoshopped abs. Source: Steam

The Last Hero Of Nostalgaia Review

You’ll have access to an array of weapons that can be equipped in both hands and swapped out for a two-hander, should you need it. There’s even pixellated magic-wielding going on as well. For tanks, you can storm in and swing your axe and take a few hits, or swipe with daggers and roll until your heart’s content if you’re a bit of a rogue. Well, until your stamina runs out. Yes, it’s familiar, welcome territory, and anyone who’s played a FromSoftware game (not Sekiro) will be in their element. I know I was.

Unlike its counterparts, The Last Hero of Nostalgaia is slightly clearer with its lore. Nostalgaia is the world of gaming, and fellow players will smirk at the references throughout and admire how the game plays out. Something about it feels incredibly raw and what we might just tarnish as ‘indie’, but Over The Moon has crafted what we game ‘journalists’ refer to as a love letter to some other game or genre. This here is a love letter to gaming in general; it just so happens to capture the Souls-like environment perfectly.

Enemies in the game can be pretty punishing, especially the bosses, but that’s what we expect of these games. Though it lacks the cinematics of Elden Ring, it captures the essence of a good lock-on battle and circling/dodging your opponent. Speaking of the bosses, their design reminded me a little of Octopath Traveler – fusing blocky visuals with some nice rendering, yet doing it well and certainly not a gimmick for the sake of it.

Dying Is Funny

Any reader will now be expecting the bit where I say, “But I didn’t like this…”. For me, it was getting hit that was a problem. The screen flashes black, albeit briefly, but there’s not enough time to recover. Depending on the character’s level, you can incur two hits and then death purely because of this ever-so-subtle lag. Yes, I’m saying it’s lag and not taking responsibility for lack of skills. The Steam Deck was my port of call for The Last Hero of Nostalgaia, and I had initially dismissed it as processing power, but it’s an actual mechanic as it was replicated on the ol’ desktop, too.

Once you’ve seen one Souls-like, you’ve seen them all, but as noted, The Last Hero of Nostalgaia is pretty damn witty throughout and will keep you sane through the multiple deaths you’ll endure. Naturally, your character doesn’t speak, so hearing the same tones from the narrator may grate at times – it did for me as they desperately want you to fail in your quest to save Nostalgaia. Still, as I said, it often hits the mark and can be a bit humbling after you’ve taken a pummeling.

There’s not much else to say at this point other than me saying get it. Well, that’s up to you, of course, but if you’re a fan of these games and have a sense of humour, this is refreshing and certainly one of the better Souls-likes I’ve played that makes no excuses in its design. There’s also an online co-op option, but I didn’t try that part, as usual, but as a standalone, yes: lots of fun – get it!