If No Man’s Sky is the ambitious, boisterous member of the Hello Games family, The Last Campfire is the subdued, charming one. Released to very little fanfare, this simplistic puzzler does enough to provide a weekend’s worth of enjoyment. Just don’t expect anything too impressive from those two days of fun.
The hazy fairy tale puts you in the shoes of Ember — a lost soul tasked with helping Forlorns regain consciousness by completing different types of brain teasers. You will rummage through each and every colourful environment in search of them, overcoming simple obstacles and talking to lovable creatures as you go. The puzzles themselves aren’t all that original though, mostly revolving around pushing boulders in the correct sequence and sliding jigsaw tests ripped straight out of Resident Evil 4. A device introduced a few hours into the game allows you to control objects and platforms from afar, but it too hardly pushes the boat out in terms of both complexity and originality.
And that’s what is holding The Last Campfire back the most. It appears content to recycle the same sort of brain teasers we’ve been solving for years now, but it does so in such a chill manner that maybe it doesn’t matter quite as much as usual. Your puzzling capabilities will be tested the more you progress, although tranquillity always remains at the heart of the experience.
However, watch out for the technical setbacks that lead to slowdown on PlayStation 4 when interacting with other characters and dodgy animations that see Ember completely clip through the world. The former is a consistent issue that breaks immersion a little too often, but there’s always a delightful NPC or puzzle on the other side to draw you back in. Despite not doing anything new, The Last Campfire is a lovely palate cleanser in between the bigger games this year.