Sep 6, 2013
Solvable mystery adventures are the cream of the mobile gaming crop as far as I’m concerned, and it’s not everyday we get a port like The Last Express on Android. It is borne from the popular PC game of the same name by the renown creator of the Prince of Persia line, Jordan Mechner.
The game is played in the character of Robert Cath, a likable fellow fleeing his own troubles. He is on the move, and is looking to hook up with an old friend on the Orient Express. From there, the story explodes. Literally.
Artistically, the game is a fine period piece. The animations bridge the staggered artwork that makes up most of the background visuals. From the reflected outfits through the intricate nature of the train’s tapestry, there is a definite aura of beauty that envelopes the game. Said animations are not wasted, and as such, when they do occur, the player unconsciously pays attention to them. The usual playing perspective is an adjusted first person, and the interactions may not seem to be the most natural, but within the user interface that governs the game, it all looks and feels great even as it brings 1914 to life.
In a lot of games of this type, the storyline is more or less rigid, regardless of actions. In other words, outside small variations, you get the same outcome. What I like about the this story engine is that the variations in end result seem to be affected by action and inaction. Different characters have different goals, and the characters seem to be quite intertwined, even if somewhat reluctantly. The action mostly goes in real-time, which is unique, and thus, the rewind button is of good value at times. There is a three-part hint system that can be helpful as well; other familiar elements (like the player inventory are available for use.
The Last Express is a great tale. It does plod along at times, but for the most part it is scarily engaging and pleasantly fulfilling, even for a port of an older game. It reads like an action story that one would invariably enjoy on the big screen; word is is that that dream may actually become a reality.
For now, we get to be in the story.