The Last Friend – PC Review

The Last Friend – PC Review
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Genre: 2D action tower defense
Developer: the Stonebot Studio, Ludus Games
Publisher: Skystone Games
Release Date: September 30th, 2021
Edited by AlexKnight2005

Though there have been a lot of tower defense games in the past years, there are very few in the style of Popcap’s legendary casual masterpiece Plants vs. Zombies. The game has been a genre classic, and its multiple lane-based gameplay is one of the game’s defining characteristics.

This relatively new game, The Last Friend, has a somewhat similar style (though it is really a mixture of this lane-based tower defense structure and a brawler game). This one is from Salvadorean studio The Stonebot Studio (previously known for Stereo Aereo), co-developed by Ludus Games and published by Skystone Games.


You play as the mostly silent protagonist Alpha in a post-apocalyptic world where you end up rescuing a chihuahua named T. Juan that…you can somehow understand? From there, you and T. Juan travel across the wasteland in an RV to rescue more dogs and deal with all manners of bad guys.

The game is primarily mission-based, where you complete various missions across the maps rather linearly to unlock the next one. The main type of mission is defense missions, where you must defend your RV against waves of enemy attacks. There are three lanes in total; you’ll have to build your turrets (with each different turret type associated with a specific breed of dog) on these three lanes to defeat enemies that run towards the RV. It will come later on ramps up in difficulty to 5 lanes.


As mentioned above, this game is a mix of tower defense and brawler-style games. Alpha is free to roam the lanes after placing the dog turrets, using a rather rudimentary control scheme to beat up enemies before they can assault the turrets or the RV. While initially limited only to movement and a basic light/heavy attack, he will later proceed through trials that expand his repertoire to special moves (that require stamina to use) and a special ultimate ability that can be used after dealing enough damage.

Most of these turrets and abilities are tied to all the dogs. The game has three distinct types: turret dogs, which are Alpha and T. Juan’s main method of defense; skill dogs, which can assist Alpha in various passive ways; and finally, ultimate dogs, which are what give Alpha his ultimate ability after proceeding partway through the game.


Of course, building turrets come with a cost; in this case, that cost is scrap. Defeated enemies drop scrap, which you need to collect manually to be able to build more turrets. An early-game unlockable turret, while also costing scrap, eventually makes back the cost and then some, given enough time.

As you progress throughout the game, you are also allowed to upgrade various aspects to make the later levels easier. Completing a mission’s objectives gives you stars that you can use to upgrade some permanent characteristics of the RV. At the same time, dog cookies earned from beating some enemies and completing achievements (‘medals’ in-game) are used to upgrade your dogs to level 3. Turret dogs that are leveled this way still have to be upgraded during a mission to make the most of it. The ability to replay earlier levels to farm cookies also means that given enough time, the player will be able to finish the game if they are struggling for any reason, simply only needing enough time to play the earlier levels over and over to gain enough cookies to upgrade all their dogs.


First, if you’re a dog lover, you’ll absolutely adore this game. Beyond the obviously large variety of dog breeds that you can rescue, there is also the ability to pet pretty much all of them in camp. Only T. Juan is resistant to petting, allowing you the opportunity to do it once after every mission. (This is even certified by the Can You Pet the Dog Twitter account.) A neat feature is Alpha also gradually understands more of the dogs’ speech as the dogs are upgraded, with the dialogue transforming into full-blown English (or whichever language you’re playing the game on) when the dog is fully upgraded.

The game also offers various missions, so things do not get monotonous. Besides the aforementioned defense missions, there are other missions varying in nature, where you don’t even need to build turrets, just control Alpha to punch down a series of obstacles, defeat a series of bad guys, or maybe even defeat a boss. The alternate missions are generally easy to spot from the rest because their challenge goals are usually timed (while the defense missions require you not to have your RV damaged).

Speaking of controlling Alpha, surprisingly, the keyboard and mouse controls work rather well (though I would tend to forget my keybinds). Playing it on a gamepad would be the natural decision due to the brawler style. Still, I personally found turret selection uncomfortable, so it was nice (if a bit odd-feeling) that I could switch to keyboard and mouse and play this seamlessly. (This is not intended to be a knock on the gamepad control scheme, mind you.)

With the missions being as short as they are, usually not lasting more than 10 minutes each and being endlessly replayable, this is perfect if you want to binge the game for long sessions or you only have time for 1 to 2 missions in a day. The clean, cartoony art style and the somewhat guitar-driven soundtrack that sits pleasantly and unobtrusively in the background also help in that regard. While they don’t really stand out, the ambiance that they give off is rather charming.

As slick as it looks, The Last Friend is sadly not bug-free. An all-too-common problem with Steam games is an incorrect implementation of the achievement API, resulting in achievements only popping up in Steam once you close the game and ruining the achievement timestamps (unless you close the game every time you gain an achievement). At the start, I didn’t particularly have a great experience as my save got corrupted and had me stuck on a stage with an inability to start it or even go camping, forcing me to start over. I’d also randomly get stuck on the right side during some defense missions as the game doesn’t seem to account for the player pushing too far to the right to deal with enemies as soon as they come in.

Though I did mention above an ability to replay levels over and over, I feel that in practice, you won’t really need to do so. The missions, for the most part, end up being rather easy, and I’ve passed most of the first try without failing due to an improper turret selection (let’s not mention the failure when I didn’t pay too close attention to my health…oh wait). I am self-admittedly not the best at picking the best selection of turrets and skills, but the difficulty is such that I could practically ‘brute-force’ it by picking the same offensive turrets, with maybe some upgrades on it, and then play on. To the game’s credit, some sidequests force you to bring a potentially uncomfortable series of dogs into the mission, but even still, I’ve had zero problems beating the sidequests on the first try.

That being said, at a later mission (Wild River), a massive difficulty spike suddenly occurs. Though you only have three lanes to juggle, the area, in general, is very cramped, and the game throws a lot of either tanky or powerful enemies at you, necessitating a very specific series of dogs to be selected and upgrades purchased, or you’ll just be unable to complete all of the mission’s objectives. If there was any specific point in the game where I started to really get frustrated, it was here.

There are a few odd design decisions with the game as well. Intro logos are unskippable, and you’d have to sit through them every time, for instance. There is a sticker collection page that somehow ONLY appears whenever you acquire a sticker (for teaming up with a specific dog ten times) and is inaccessible otherwise. Lastly, unless I missed something, you can only seem to quick-travel to game areas that you’ve already completed, even after you can access the particular node (the dog training node) where you can quick-travel to in an uncompleted area. Why can’t I quickly travel to a past area and mop up uncompleted missions, then quick-travel back to the main area I’m working on instead of manually going all the way back?


  • Doggos galore.
  • Decent mission variety.
  • Perfect for gameplay sessions of various lengths.
  • Clean, cartoony art style paired with a pleasant and unobtrusive soundtrack.


  • Bugs.
  • Feels mostly easy (but also has a sharp difficulty spike).
  • Some odd design decisions.

K3W3L gives The Last Friend a Drastik Measure of 8.0 out of 10.0 (80)

Costing only $14.99 on Steam, The Last Friend is, interestingly enough, on the cheaper end of things and is nice as a feel-good game. Hardcore tower defense enthusiasts might not be invested with the game much due to its relative lack of difficulty; however, this would appeal the best to the casual demographic — good for a more relaxing experience on, say, a rainy afternoon.