What would it be like to be the last human on earth? If there’s one common theme with titles set in the future, it’s that the world is in ruins and hope has all but evaporated along with much human life. That brings us to The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human, which originally released on Steam, and has now made its way to consoles. Developed and published by Swedish game studio YCJY, the game falls into the ‘Metroidvania’ genre. But can it live up to it’s historical influences? Absolutely.
Earth is in ruins. To save the planet, you’re sent through a wormhole to find salvation for mankind. However, many hundreds of years later, you return. Seemingly not much time has passed to the player, but the said wormhole deposits you back on earth where humans have all but been eradicated and the oceans have risen to flood the planet.
Cities are now real-life Atlantis’s. But the oceans that dominate have done nothing but thrive since the end of mankind. You, however, will not lay down and die as the last human. And it’s your job to explore the depths, discover what happened and ultimately, survive what is still to come.
Taking the reigns as a 2D shooter, Aquatic Adventure (as we will shorten it too) feels well designed and fluid from the start. The oceans are abundant with life. Harmless fish, albeit a lot bigger than they used to be swim peacefully around the locations. Meanwhile, other creatures of the deep have grown to colossal size. And it is these such foes you will need to take down.
You begin your journey as your spaceship crash lands through arctic ice into the flooded realms of the planet. Luckily for you, the ship also doubles up as a submarine type vehicle to travel in. The sub can be upgraded as you progress and not before long, you’ll have a harpoon attached and stumble across the first boss fight – a worm probably as big as the Eiffel Tower. Boss battles soon ramp up the difficulty too, Aquatic Adventure is by no means a leisurely swim through the ocean. You’ll need to memorise patterns and be aware of your surroundings as you take on the ocean goliaths. And with victories you’ll soon reap rewards with further upgrades. It’s challenging, but by using strategy and logic, prevailing in a battle feels very satisfying. What’s more, it never feels too repetitive with a varying number of environments and challenges to tackle.
In terms further story, you’ll stumble across recordings along the way which will help piece together numerous aspects of what happened to Earth. But this takes a back seat to the experience and fantastic gameplay.
Being an indie title, it is by no means a surprise that Aquatic Adventure follows the 2D pixelated trend of recent years. But it works so well. Environments change as you progress through the map. The experience flows well with no slowdown when things may get a bit hectic on screen. It’s a joy to look at and a homage to the genres that inspired its creation.
The soundtrack accompanying your journey is a joy to listen to. From slow ambient sounds to more dramatic tones when the heat is on, the music captures the setting and situation perfectly.
There’s a good chunk of gameplay in Aquatic Adventure. It doesn’t want you to blast through and its pacing dictates that you don’t. You’re urged to discover and experience the world. And it works fantastically. The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human creates a world that feels intriguing to explore. Coupled with solid gameplay mechanics and challenging boss battles. If you’re a fan of the genre, this is absolutely not to be missed. And if you fancy something different in the retro scene, you won’t go far wrong here.
The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human is available now from the Xbox Store, Priced £11.99