The Last Kids on Earth and the Staff of Doom, based on the Netflix cartoon series, is out now for all major consoles and PCs – here’s what we thought.
Publisher Outright certainly has their hands full with family-friendly titles this year, because after The Last Kids on Earth they’re also coming out with new games based on Paw Patrol, Peppa Pig and PJ Masks, just to name a few of their upcoming titles. First up is The Last Kids on Earth though, which brings the unlikely scenario of the apocalypse to a children’s show.
In the game, you’ll play as one of the four main characters from the story as you battle through story missions that are – as you’d expect in an apocalyptic tale – filled with the undead. You choice of characters isn’t just cosmetic either – Jack, June, Dirk and Quint all have unique movesets and weapons, allow for additional playthrough as well as interesting local co-op opportunities. Half the characters are more melee-oriented, and the others prefer ranged combat, and this makes for nice teamplay when playing together.
The other side of that, however, is that solo play can feel a bit unbalanced and can make you feel like you’d rather be playing as another character. This is especially true when facing enemies that make it hard to get close to them, like bosses whose attacks will stop you before you can inflict damage, but it’s just as true the other way around when your ranged shots aren’t connecting.
Luckily, the game is fairly forgiving in letting you restart without losing too much progress and by making sure that you can regularly pick up health packs. This is where the game shows its kid-centric approach, eschewing challenge for accessibility. Those not in the target audience, or without kids who are, will probably lose interest because of this – and the fact that most of the game is somewhat repetitive is also something that kids will forgive more easily than seasoned gamers.
There are side quests to take on as well, but most of them feel like smaller version of the main story missions where you travel across the game world and kill enemies along the way. There are tower defense sections where you protect your base from incoming hordes as well, but these tend to seem underused and oversimplified. There’s little need for any tactics, and to kids the gameplay feels less involved than the straight up combat does.
What the game does really well is something that wasn’t in the recent Paw Patrol game: it features the original voice actors from the show, which is a big plus for kids who are fans. Characters and locations also look very recognizable, though it’s far from a powerhouse with visuals that wouldn’t have looked out of place in the PS3 era and a lack of detail and diversity in the game’s backdrops.
The Last Kids on Earth and the Staff of Doom is a fun yet formulaic take on the Netflix show that should appeal to fans with its accessible gameplay. If local co-op is an option then that’s a definite plus as well, and the game supports four player action. That’s where the game really shines, so look into this one if you’re interested in playing together with the kids or if they regularly play with friends.