I grew up Mormon. It’s surprising how many conversations start this way for me.
Growing up Mormon means that I can tell you, in great detail, anything about the Bible (KJV), Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price (our four books (and here you thought we only had one or two!)). What I cannot tell you about is religion outside of that save the basics.
So it’s interesting how picking up this random submission for Adventure Jam 2016, titled “Four Last Things” ran deeper than I would have originally imagined and taught me a thing or two about religion, history, art, and culture.
Created by Joe Richardson and hosted on Game Jolt, this free-to-play little piece of art is...well, many pieces of art. Mushed into one. And then some of the art moves. And says things. And sometimes slaps people. Yeah.
The goal is pretty straightforward: you, a peasanty-looking fellow, have travelled far and wide to reach a church in order to confess your sins. A fancy looking man (who I think is a painting of King Charles II) tells you that, unfortunately, your sins were committed in a different area. In order to be allowed entry into this particular church, you have to commit sins within its district. About four or five should do it.
So basically, in order to be forgiven of your sins you have to commit more sins. Because logic.
And just like that, you’re set free on this point and click adventure. Clicking will activate a movement or action and skip text, clicking and holding while hovering over something of interest will instigate an action, and escape quits the game (not recommended). There are different paintings thrown together to make a handful of distinct areas filled with people, food stalls, and statues to interact with. Interact in the correct manner and you’ve sinned. Congrats!
If you know the Seven Deadly Sins, you kind of already know what you’re supposed to do. In the first area of the game, there’s a bunch of guys lying down doing nothing. You have the option to join them. If you don’t get up for a full in-game day, you’ve committed Sloth. In the second area, there’s some light coming from a window. You have the option to peek inside. Doing so will result in seeing a woman’s bare ankles (scandalous!). Voila! Lust.
I won’t give away the rest of the sins, but I will say that they’re actually surprisingly hard to track down. Can you track down all seven? I gave up on Gluttony. Tell me what to do in the comments section.
The text is pretty funny and well thought out. If you enjoy that sort of dry, British humor then this is definitely your game. The fine art major will have a field day with this one; now I don’t know much about art, but the little bit that I do know was definitely found here - for example, Pieter Bruegel the Elder and his Dutch Butts. Part of me was more interested in finding art that I might recognize while the other part was looking to sin (I just couldn’t get enough of that sweet, sweet ankle action). Even the Theology major will have fun; they’re the ones that probably recognized right away the meaning of “Four Last Things” - Death, Judgement, Heaven, and Hell, or the four last stages of the soul in the afterlife. Again, being Mormon, I had no idea about any of this and the entire night ended up becoming a learning experience. It was a sin-win situation!
I won’t spoil the ending (since the game is so short you can pretty much beat it within 30 minutes), but I mean...I guess I saw it coming. It was honestly a perfect way to end a game about medieval peasant life. I suppose there’s no other way to end it, quite frankly.
I’m so tickled with this game, I cannot even express it properly. The sense of humor matches the Monty Python inspired artwork - it’s dry, blunt, intelligent, yet crude. I think that’s what drew me to this title in the first place - it’s totally Monty-Pythonesque. Taking a page out of Terry Gilliam’s book really paid off for this developer; game jams are so difficult to take part in due to time restrictions, and graphics often suffer the most with these limited windows. Four Last Thing’s biggest strength is that it didn’t require much more than persistence and public domain works. I’ve always said that, if you’re unable to produce AAA quality graphics, it’s best to make something stylized and unique rather than to aim for the impossible. Four Last Things not only embodies this philosophy but lends to its veracity - here is a perfectly crafted yet simple game that didn’t try for a lot yet accomplished much. It’s genius, really.
If you have 30 minutes to spare and enjoy art, culture, history, religion, or just being a sinner (you heathen), I strongly recommend picking up this charming little game. Awaken your inner peasant, take a leap of faith, and sin to win!