The Last Door seasons 1 & 2 (2014)

Horror author and a creator of Cthulhu mythos H. P. Lovecraft has inspired movies, comics, and games since his death and rediscovery. While he did have an influence in his lifetime as well, more noticeable in the works of Robert E. Howard, Lovecraft is today more popular than he ever has been thanks to his works sipping into popular psyche through other creators who seek inspiration from his haunting, panic ridden stories of cosmic horror. This is thanks to, not only comics but games as well, as many RPG and horror games siphon what Lovecraft created.

One of the best Lovecraft influenced horror games I've played is the Last Door series. It is, in a proper Lovecraft manner, a tale of a descent into madness, when Devitt and Wakefiled try to uncover the secret of supernatural phenomena known as the Veil. Both of the games in the series are moody, pixel art games, which rely a lot on music and sound effects to really bring out the air of supernatural, fear, horror and madness.

I'm not normally very keen on modern retro pixel games, as more often than not I see it as a poorly veiled attempt at hiding the fact that the game's artists weren't either very good or that there wasn't enough money to do better. At times though there comes a pixel art game that shines, as the style feels more than an attempt to hide weaknesses, it feels like a deliberate style choice. This is the case with the Last Door, as it is very often easy to see, that the people responsible for the art could also have worked marvels on higher resolutions, but they still poured all their skill on those huge blocks on the screen, managing to turn them into something extraordinary.

The Last Door is, surprisingly enough, a point and click adventure. Usually, games inspired by Lovecraft have been survival horror games, like Alone in the Dark series for an example and have often emphasised both puzzles solving as well as survival. TLD, on the other hand, leaves out the survival part altogether and concentrates fully on the narrative and puzzles.

One thing that the developers of the TLD have understood is, that as they are trying to create an interactive horror experience, it's important to have the game flow easily. This goes on both stories as well as the puzzles. If you get hung up on a puzzle for a too long time, it can break the atmosphere, especially if that means running all around the locations, trying to figure out what you are supposed to do. In this, the devs succeed most of the time. When the game flows, it does it with ease. It's pretty astonishing, how easy it is to let the atmosphere of the game just wash over you, while you point and click your way through the dialogues and puzzles.

So, if you are up to some decent Lovecraft inspired horror mystery, the Last Door is a thing to open. It might be a game with huge pixels in it, but it also is two little masterpieces as well. You can get collectors editions from GOG and Steam. Both seasons can also be played in a web browser at the official game site.