Your civilisation’s dead. Your planet’s drained of all resources. You’ve had better days.
On the bright side, you have a sturdy spaceship and a map. Across the galaxy is a planet ripe for terraforming. But since your own planet’s hardly offering a blueprint for success, you must collect ‘instructions’ along the way.
So Last Horizon has you scoot about a minimal galaxy, searching for planets to plunder, while trying your very best to not die. After blasting off, you rapidly discover space is a dangerous place. Comets and asteroids zoom and lurk, respectively, threatening to smash your fragile craft and all that’s left of humanity.
Planets invite landings but lazily rotate beneath your thrusting ship, while moons wheel overhead. Your craft can take a few bashes, but too much damage and it’ll glow red, and eventually burst into flames. Also, you’ve limited fuel and oxygen. The game doesn’t state it, but we bet the galley’s run out of tea, just to add to the despair.
To inject some hope into proceedings — for a given value of hope — it turns out your ship is some kind of space techno-vampire. Land on a planet and it’ll magically suck out oxygen and fuel, along with mining ore to repair any recent prangs. Happen upon a planet with life, and the ship will ‘harvest’ it — and you choose whether to leave planets in a recoverable state or suck the galaxy entirely dry before arriving at your new home.
Naturally, there’s a message there, further driven home when you get a bit too greedy and then meet sentient beings scooting about in purple ships. Annoy them by wrecking the galaxy or their planets and they’ll want to kill you with missiles and lasers. As your weaponry is non-existent, you’ll have to scarper sharpish to avoid becoming so much space dust.
Slight, but brilliant
Make it to your new home, avoiding black holes and giant suns along the way, and you can try your hand at two tougher journeys, before tackling the procedurally generated final flight, which offers the most replay value. And if that all sounds slight, that’s because Last Horizon is.
This game isn’t trying to be an all-encompassing space-exploration epic. It’s not EVE Online, Out There, or even Elite. It’s typically mobile-oriented survival fare draped over ancient arcade classic Lunar Lander. You probably won’t be playing Last Horizon next year, but in the short-term it’ll give you hours of joy, weaving between meteorite fragments, outpacing alien missiles, and reaching your new planet with only seconds of oxygen to spare.