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The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Part Shadow of the Colossus and Super Metroid, this shoot-em-up takes players deep into the future to experience what's left of Earth. With its melancholy atmosphere, retro presentation and intense boss fights, I found a lot to love in The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human. This is something special that needs to be played as soon as possible. Rating: 85%
The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human
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The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human
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If there's one thing I've learned from three decades of playing video games, it's that the future sucks. It's either a zombie apocalypse, uninhabitable hellscape or filled with robots ruining everything. This doom and gloom trend continues with The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human, a 2D shoot-em-up that feels like a cross between Shadow of the Colossus and Super Metroid. And if that's not enough to get you excited, I'm here to say that it's one of the best games I've played in a long time.

As the title suggests, you play the last human on Earth. He's an astronaut that was sent through a wormhole to find a salvation for his dying planet. Unfortunately, he failed. After completing his mission, he returns to discover that thousands of years have passed and everybody on his once-thriving planet has died. Worst of all, the mountains, cities and skyscrapers have all been drowned by the out-of-control ocean.


Of course, our hero isn't quite ready to accept his fate as Earth's last human. He uses his spaceship to navigate an underwater maze teaming with unexpected surprises. The stores, brands and landmarks he once loved are gone, replaced by an ocean full of aggressive mutant fish. In order to survive his search, the last human will pick up power-ups and find items that will help unlock new areas to explore and bosses to defeat.

Much like Shadow of the Colossus, most of the game centers on these lengthy boss fights. The different encounters range in size, from small seahorses all the way up to a giant octopus. These are not easy battles, as most will require both memorization and patience. They all play out a little different, giving us a wide variety of challenges to overcome. Perhaps my favorite boss is the angler fish, an incredibly creepy skirmish at the very bottom of the sea.

It's not just the bosses that are wonderfully varied, but also the world the game has created. Although it takes place entirely underwater, The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human is spread out across a number of beautiful locations. From the bright and colorful to the dark and gloomy, I loved every second of poking around this labyrinthine landscape and couldn't wait to see where it took me next. And I was not disappointed by the conclusion, which works on a couple of levels.

The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Although I called it a "shoot-em-up" earlier in this review, The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human takes a little while before it gets to the shooting. In fact, even when we're finally given a harpoon gun, it's slow and has limited range. Eventually we're given missiles and harpoons on both sides of the ship, but that's only after hours of surviving the elements. Players going into this expecting a bullet hell shoot-em-up will be disappointed, as this is a game more interested in exploration than all-out action.

The deliberate pace, haunting atmosphere and well-crafted story sucked me into this underwater world and wouldn't let go. I was immediately won over by the throwback look and existential themes. I loved wrapping my head around the wildly different bosses, even when I wanted to throw my controller through the monitor.

Speaking of which, The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human is a lot more difficult than I expected. The game has a funny way of lulling you into a false sense of security before it ratchets up the difficulty. Because the battles are so long, some of the more challenging boss fights can veer into the frustrating. There were a couple especially nasty fights that took way more than dozen attempts to defeat, most of them with me yelling at the screen. But the anger quickly turned to satisfaction every time I took down one of frustrating bosses.

The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

I also ran into a couple navigation issues that slowed down the progress. It's not always clear where you're supposed to go next, since the game gives you no hints and the map is woefully inadequate. I found myself flying around in circles towards the end, something that stalled the otherwise swift pacing. Of course, this is a problem that finds its way into most Metroidvania-style action games, but it's made worse here by the limited map options.

With its melancholy atmosphere, retro presentation and intense boss fights, I found a lot to love in The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human. I was immediately drawn into the underwater world and captivated with our hero's plight. If this is any indication of what's in store for 2016, then this is going to be one incredible year.
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