Last Window: The Secret of Cape West on the Nintendo DS is an interactive graphic novel game by Cing. The opening scene is of the American city of Los Angeles in 1980 and follows on from the events in Hotel Dusk, although no knowledge of the previous game is required, as this is a self contained story. It tells the story of Kyle Hyde, an ex cop, aged 34 who worked for a company called Red Crown.Â Kyle is someone who is inquisitive and likes to keep his nose close to the ground. He seems like a character that is down on his luck, but Kyle has his wits about him and his sarcastic humour gets him from day to day. Red Crown is a company, owned by Ed his boss, that makes deliveries of household goods. Nothing very exciting. However, all is not what it seems.
The boss has some kind of racket going on beyond the delivery service, that involves finding certain things that donâ€™t usually want to be found. Things are not running smoothly for Kyle who has just lost his job at Red Crown and, as a tenant at Cape West, youâ€™ve been told by the owner of the your apartment block, Margaret Patrice, that you, along with all of the other tenants, must leave the building by the end of the month. Kyle also wants to learn more about his fatherâ€™s death, which was instrumental in him becoming a detective.
With the Nintendo DS held in a book style, we head off for our investigation. On the right screen we have a top down view of the map which shows us the rooms that Kyle visits during his stay at Cape West. A red circle appears on this screen, which can be manipulated with the stylus and corresponds to the first person view on the left screen. This is a terrific effect and I was quite amazed on how well it responded. On the right hand screen there are also 5 boxes which can be interacted with.
The door button allows you to come in and out of rooms, knock, or ring the bell depending on the situation. The body icon button represents interaction or conversation, the magnifying glass is for identifying objects and taking a closer look, the briefcase button is where you can find a selection of collected items. The notebook button is a valuable source of information for this game as it contains information about characters, notes you may have written down yourself, a handy map and a brief summary of your progress throughout the game. I found the notebook particularly handy, due to the large number of characters you meet within the game and it is ideal for taking notes if you need to. There is also a slider which enables characters to move the view around areas that cannot always be seen, kind of like a blind spot. There were some points in the game where this became crucial. Players can save the game at any point via the notebook, and if you start it up again, you also have the option of returning to the storyline where you left off, or the choice of reading the whole story so far in a digital form, which I thought was absolutely brilliant and a genius idea.
This point and click adventure pulls players into a deep storyline that unfolds around Kyle Hyde. Kyle makes the habit of investigating everyone that he encounters.Â Characters are shown in a stylish pencil drawn design with cell shaded animation. This is one of the delightful luxuries that caught my attention and I watched in fascination as I interacted with each character. As you engage with various people throughout the game, their colour changes shade depending on whether this is a first encounter or not.
The storylines reveal their personalities and why they are residing in Cape West in the first place. Players may ask them a series of interrogating questions which may result in further investigation, or in some cases you may ask the wrong line of questioning and end of the game. Itâ€™s up to you as the player to discover the story of Last Window, investigate characters, follow up clues and occasionally rummage through the rooms of the building. There will be many distractions throughout the game where your decisions will be tested. Keep your attention to detail on characters, as not everyone can be trusted.
The game does form around a series of puzzles; maybe thatâ€™s why I like this game so much. It reminds me slightly of Professor Layton but with a more engaging storyline. Iâ€™ve never played Hotel Dusk before and people have noted that this is very similar. This is the first time Iâ€™ve played one of these interactive graphic novel games and it wonâ€™t be the last.
During the time I spent playing this game, it fully immersed me into its wonderful cinematic graphics abd deep storyline. Each time Iâ€™ve put the game down, I found myself picking it up again very quickly to see how the story progresses. The story does start out slow to begin with because there are so many characters to engage with and so much reading. Yes, itâ€™s not a quick hit game and youâ€™ve got to have a reasonable amount of time set aside for the massive amounts of reading.
The reading side of the game concerned me when I first started the game, not because of the style, but because of the sheer volume and I donâ€™t think anyone just wants to sit there and read endless amounts of text on a DS. But the game pulled me in as it intertwined the storyline, characters and puzzles with ease. While the story can be slow at times and caused my mind to start wandering a little, it is such a complex story that contains great depth. The endless reading annoy some people, but the puzzles provide a much wanted distraction from that factor. While I donâ€™t have a greatÂ deal of experience of this genre of games, Iâ€™ve come away with a positive attitude and as a fan. The game provides a different way to enjoy a rich and exciting story.
Each event that unfolds page by page gives gamers an interactive footstep towards questions that need to be answered, mysteries which have to be solved and finally an investigation into the secrets that Cape West holds. Who will you trust?