Prepare to be the Last Hero of Nostalgaia! Over the last decade, gamers have been challenged by FromSoftware with their soulslike games. Yes, Demon Souls launched on PS3 in 2009, but due to console exclusivity, only a few knew the sadistic mind of Hidetaka Miyazaki. When Dark Souls was released in 2011, it swept the gaming world and was nominated for a variety of awards. Its legacy has inspired a variety of sequels and memes that live on to this day.
The soulslike legacy has gone beyond FromSoftware games and can be seen in a variety of other titles. Some of the most notable ones you might have heard of are Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Remnant From the Ashes, Code Vein, and Stranger of Paradise. Now we want to introduce you to a new soulslike, no not The Last Oricru this time – a game called The Last Hero of Nostalgaia.
The Last Hero of Nostalgaia
Developer: Over the Moon
Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series X (Review), and Steam
Release Date: October 19, 2022
Players: 1 to 2
Price: $24.99 USD
Welcome to The Last Hero of Nostalgaia
When the player first loads into The Last Hero of Nostalgaia, they are given the chance to “customize” their character and give them a name. In reality, these customizations play no real factor throughout most of the game. After deciding on the superficial parts of the character, the player can then choose their class. Players can pick between one of five options: Formatter (Strength), Datadin (Tank), Resolutionary (Dexterity), Sourcerer (Magic), or Randomaster (Luck).
Right off the bat, the game lets you know that it is not the standard soulslike experience. The narrator refuses to introduce the realm and in fact discourages the player from adventuring. The world teaches the player how to fight using notes, since the narrator refuses to do so. Early encounters with enemies can feel deadly even with a single hit, especially when the player encounters the stun mechanic.
Throughout the game, the player will notice several nods to other popular video games, movies, and animes from the 80s up to at least the 2000s. Most weapons and armor have tie-ins to the two eras in gaming. The weapon lore will have a basic description as a hint as to what it is referencing, but whenever the player finds a memory’s location they are able to have the item remember its lore.
Once an item remembers its origin, its stats increase and it unlocks a special ability. We challenge you to find a weapon or piece of armor in this game that does not reference something else. Although the game has many comedic elements whether in boss battles, world exploration, and even weapons, the combat can be as hard as in other soulslike games.
Players will still need to learn how the enemy attack patterns pan out in order to survive. Combat in the game can be a little off at times, where sometimes you feel like you should have died but lived with one HP; other times you feel like you dodged the attack just to die. As previously stated, even common enemies can be threatening. By the time that you get to a boss fight, you should have leveled up a few times, but will still face a challenge.
If playing Co-op, you and your partner must both stay alive. Unlike other souls games, if the summoned player dies, the host player dies as well and both players must regather their memories (souls).
Sorry, you can’t kill the far enemies while your partner does all the hard work. Co-op in the game needs to be fine-tuned since players must be at the same part of the story in order to play cooperatively. On Xbox, this is a nightmare since the community is so small.
One great feature The Last Hero of Nostalgaia has is the ability to create multiple characters and have multiple saves. At the moment, we are unsure if the game has a new game-plus feature.
Right off the bat, The Last Hero of Nostalgaia gives off 2000’s era vibes and has a subtle node to a beloved 2000’s franchise (Bioshock). The game explains that the art style for the citizens and world is due to retro decay.
Upon reaching the first beacon, the player is able to restore a portion of the surrounding area but does not alter the character’s stick figure. Through each level, players can see different aspects of other beloved titles such as Halo, Dead Space, Legend of Zelda, Bully, Sonic, Mario, Resident Evil, Final Fantasy, and even Dragon’s Lair.
Beyond the weapons and armor, even the game’s level design references other games. Outside of the Hall of Heroes (beginning area), players will come down to an area similar to Dark Souls‘ Firelink Shrine.
Later in the game, the player will stumble across a village very similar to the Legend of Zelda’s Lost Woods. Each area in the game is interconnected, with the player easily being able to return to any specific area once the shortcut has been found.
Enemy NPC’s hitboxes can be deceiving since you are not always fighting 3D creatures. Once some enemies transform, their hit boxes become as expected.
From the beginning, you can tell that this is an indie game, but it is a well-polished indie game. During our time playing, we only noticed two bugs, and those were found doing cooperative gameplay.
Each area in The Last Hero of Nostalgia has its own special music. Boss fights have intense but fun music that will draw you in and get you sweating. In fact, if we could just listen to the boss’s music, we’d wave at the boss for hours and chill out. The Last Hero of Nostalgaia features a narrator and NPCs to help the player learn Nostalgaia’s lore.
The Last Hero of Nostalgaia is a soulslike game that tries to do a little bit too much. Although the combat is rather polished, the hit detection system can still have issues, especially when playing cooperatively. The game is full of nostalgic pieces whether it is the weapons, enemies, armor, or even the level design itself.
Honestly, we challenge you to find ten things that aren’t a reference to something else. Although the game can be challenging, it can also be fair. The game feature a variety of weapons and armor for the player to customize their character in the way that they best see fit. The game’s level design builds upon itself utilizing as much space as possible.
If The Last Hero of Nostalgia only featured single-player elements, it would be rather solid. Sadly, with the small Xbox community and strict co-op requirements, the game’s co-op gameplay falls short. The game’s controls are similar to that of most soulslike games but the stun system in the game can be a hurdle to get over. Players can also rebind the controls to what they need.
Overall, The Last Hero of Nostalgia is a solid game that is great for any Souls lover but in a way lacks that one thing that makes it a must-have. The only way we can see this game catching on is if a famous Souls player were to pick it up and show others. The Last Hero of Nostalgia is fun to play when you have the time, but with so many games currently releasing, it will probably get lost in the library.
The Last Hero of Nostalgaia was reviewed on Xbox Series X|S using a copy provided by Coatsink. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here. The Last Hero of Nostalgaia is now available across Windows PC (via Steam), Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S.