The Last Transmission: Home (TLTH) is a prototype puzzle game where you pilot a rocket through space on your way home to Earth. Developed by Ultimapwn from the Philippines for Global Game Jam 2019, TLTH is a part of their itch.io games library, also comprising of other experimental titles such as Minimum Security Prison and Welcome, Galactic Fix and Jeepney Frenzy.
The journey begins as your spaceship is destroyed in an accident. As a lone survivor on an escape rocket, you navigate your way through asteroids, black holes, and planets. The story is conveyed through slides of picture, depicting the pilot’s journey through space. Work your way through 4 levels until you safely arrive on Earth.
The gameplay of the TLTH is quite simple. You can go right and left with the arrow keys, and boost your ship using the space key, reminiscence of the classic “Asteroids” game. The coolest part is how large objects such as planets or black holes have their own gravity, which can alter your ship’s trajectory, making it rather challenging to navigate your ship through thick asteroid field at firsts. In fact, it is easier than you think, as the asteroids always appear in the same position, which is a lost opportunity since randomly spawning the space objects would massively improve the re-playability of this game.
One of my main complaints about this game is its hit detection mechanism. The outline of an object that just destroyed your ship can be unclear, sometimes you get blown up, sometimes you can just skip right through. The storytelling via those static graphic slides can also be confusing. This is a missed opportunity considering the story is the game’s main driving force that push you into following it to the end. For example, there is a story element between the second to last and the last level that I believe to be a plot twist, which led me playing multiple playthroughs trying to fully grasp the ending in vain. Let me know in the comments if you can explain what really happened between those levels and the meaning of the endings.
The music is where this game really shines though. From the moment you start the game, just let the title screens run, and you will enjoy a full clip of techno space music. The SFX really adds to the space settings, while the music during the story section really adds that sense of dread and peril of getting lost and alone in space.
As a game created for a game jam, TLTH already covers a lot of the basics that makes a game playable and worthwhile to play through until the end. Still, a little bit of polish would make this game more enjoyable while also challenging. If you are looking for a simple game with a basic story to kill some time, or you’re having a hard time explaining to your children how gravity works, you might as well give TLTH a try. Lower your expectations however, while turning up the volume, and you might find this short journey very enjoyable.
The Last Transmission: Home is available for PC on itch.io.