Title: Last Window: The Secret of Cape West
Release Date: September 17, 2010
Publisher (Developer): Nintendo (Cing)
ESRB Rating: N/A. PEGI 12
Whew! It’s been a while since an Important Importables update, hasn’t it? It was a conglomeration of unfortunate and fortunate circumstances delaying this review. In short, some family issues with E3 seasoning lead to the delay. But, we’re here now and it’s finally time to review Last Window: The Secret of Cape West, sequel to Hotel Dusk 215. Rest assured that if you enjoyed the first game, you’ll love the second.
A soon-to-be demolished building holds secrets.
Though Hotel Dusk 215 had a satisfying resolution for players, protagonist Kyle Hyde’s life has taken a downturn a year after the events. Last Window: The Secret of Cape West begins with Kyle learning he is no longer a Red Crown employee. His boss fires him, saying he wasn’t doing his job properly. That’s bad enough on its town, but when he returns to his Cape West Apartments home, he learns it is being demolished. His job and home are both being stolen away at once.
However, there’s a chance at happiness still. In his room is a note, saying the “Scarlet Star” was hidden in the Cape West Apartments 25 years ago. He’s tasked with finding it before the building is torn down. More importantly, the building itself could hold clues as to why Kyle’s father, was murdered.
Time for another brilliant investigation.
The most noticeable change in Last Window: The Secret of Cape West comes in terms of the presentation. Players still hold the DS like a book to play the game, and it still has a very distinctive, noir art-style, but there’s now a bit more color used to liven up the world. It’s a natural progression and makes the game feel more vibrant. And yet, the character portraits remain in black and white, which makes the finer details stand out. Overall, it’s an effect means of portraying the story and making the people stand out, since they’re usually what’s most important.
Last Window: The Secret of Cape West‘s gameplay is similar to a typical adventure novel. Kyle has an unofficial “case” to solve, and this means exploring all of the Cape West Apartments, solving puzzles, while also interrogating the tenants to see if any of them are familiar with either his father, Chris, or the Scarlet Star. The script and dialogue is extraordinarily well written (and translated), making it a joy to read. Not to mention the puzzles encountered make wonderful use of the DS’s touch screen, microphone and even the ability to open and close the system. You have to think and explore, but it’s handled in a way that feels natural.
There’s only one thing I noticed about Last Window: The Secret of Cape West that could turn players off. The pacing is different than standard adventure games. It moves a bit more leisurely, meaning people really have to pay attention of everything to successfully proceed through the game. Also, there’s a slight bit of backtracking, as you can’t just grab everything Kyle sees in the event that he might need it eventually. There’s a sense of progression and often he won’t be able to take a needed item until he needs it, at which point I had to hope I had made a note in the digital notepad of where said tool was last seen.
Finally, Last Window: The Secret of Cape West has a rather awesome extra feature. As you play through the game, you unlock chapters in a book. So, if it’s been a while since someone has last played the game, they can just skim through the novel to catch up with major plot points. It makes a lot of sense, given the nature of the game, and is quite effective in continuing the story.
Adventure game fans will want to open this Last Window
It’s a shame that Cing had to file for bankruptcy and is no more, as Last Window: The Secret of Cape West is an extraordinary game. Another travesty is the fact that it was completely translated into English, but never released in North America. Fortunately, there’s a bright side to everything. As a swan song, Last Window: The Secret of Cape West allows Cing to remembered warmly, with a stylish and well written adventure that DS owners can cherish. Also, the fact that the DS was region-free means people can easily import the European version of the game and experience it for themselves. If you love noir mysteries and still savor DS games, then Last Window: The Secret of Cape West is a game you must own.
COMING NEXT TIME: Important Importables reviews the Best Wishes Pokemon plushes.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Important Importables talked about all the Hyperdimension Neptunia games.