Four Last Things (2017)

At times you see something you know you just must have. For me, Four Last Things was such a thing. I knew of it previously, as I had seen it on Kickstarter, but didn't back it, as I'm always suspicious of those projects asking a couple of grand (in this case 3500 pounds) in order to do something. My suspicions be damned, as the game actually is out now, unlike some other games that have made 100 times what this one was asking.

What really makes Four Last Things shine is the style of art it is using. For starters, it's all hand painted, guaranteed. Even the characters are hand painted. This is because it uses old Renaissance paintings as a base for the background art as well as for characters. The whole things is a giant cutout animation made from the paintings of Bosch, Bruegel, Goya and many others.

The way Four Last Things is made makes it pretty unique in itself. There have been games that have used paintings as backgrounds, like the Dark Seed games which are based on the works of H.R. Giger, but Four Last Things is very likely the only game in existence that is completely built from the paintings of old masters.

Four Last Thins begins from the garden of Eden. Eve is trying to get Adam to commit the first sin, despite God is quite clear about what's going to happen if that apple is bitten. It's up to you to commit the sin and then you wake up, a world-weary traveller realises that he's sinned in every way possible and it might be a time to seek redemption.

But the local church offers no solace, as the sins on the list have been committed out of their jurisdiction. There's a loophole though: in order to get absolution, you need to re-commit your sins locally, so that the church can forgive them, as they will be forgiving the old sins with the new. So with that loophole in mind, the adventure begins, again.

The humour and the art style remind me quite a bit of Monty Python. There's similar anarchistic silliness in it, especially what comes to on how religion and sins are presented. At times I was half expecting a giant foot to come down from the heaven, but that never happened, as the writing seems to be smarter than just fully ape up Monty Python. The animation and the art are something I could imagine Terry Gilliam doing for Monty Python as well.

The biggest flaw of the game really is, that it lacks voice acting. While it looks great and the music is woven from era specific pieces (at least I think it is), the game lacks any voice acting. And that is a real shame, as it would be great to hear the lines spoken aloud. Shame indeed, but maybe, if this bare bones version sells enough there might be hope for voice acting in the future. Who knows.

This isn't a long game mind you. I took me around 2 hours to complete, but then again, I'm an old, cranky adventure gamer myself, so non-adventurers it might be a tad longer. I don't mind that it was short though, as it's so wonderfully executed game. Sure enough, it does lack voice acting, but then again it's not a game that's been made with a big budget. Hell, I'm hesitant to call its budget a shoestring. But again, it's still a charming, humorous and aesthetically wickedly well-done game. It has a nice atmosphere with all the wacky jokes, in both writing and in visuals, lovingly crafted from paintings centuries old.

In any case, I wouldn't mind seeing more stuff like this. It feels thrilling to see those old paintings turned into something else, to see a story woven into unrelated works and especially seeing how nicely it all has been put together.

Four Last Things is out now and available at least on Steam.