Last Day of June

Game review by
David Wolinsky, Common Sense Media
Last Day of June Game Poster Image
Painterly adventure game explores love, loss, sacrifice.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Promotes determination, collaboration; focuses on creative problem-solving by trying multiple solutions to problems.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Although all characters speak in gibberish, some characters are clearly stubborn, self-involved. Others are much more selfless, willing to help complete strangers, leaving themselves open to being taken advantage of.

Ease of Play

Simple controls, easy to learn, but some puzzles will make you second-guess yourself at every turn.

Violence

Death plays a major role in the story, centering on a car crash, but you only see moments leading up to the event -- no actual violence occurs.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Last Day of June is a downloadable adventure game. It's an atmospheric game without violence, though the broader themes are about death and loss. Characters are plausibly good role models, though many have a stubborn selfishness that can only be relieved after you do chores or favors for them first. Otherwise, there's no inappropriate content to be found in the game.

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What's it about?

LAST DAY OF JUNE is about how the butterfly effect plays a role in the death of a woman named June. After a delightful, tender day out with her husband, Carl, at their favorite spot, a car accident happens on their way home. As Carl, you relive his wife's last day by traveling back in time through her paintings in an attempt to change the results of the final drive home by solving puzzles. Players will need to navigate unintentional consequences that create new dilemmas and potentially new opportunities. 

Is it any good?

It's easy to be charmed by this unusually simple, yet deceptively complex game. It's just that the pacing in Last Day of June can make for a fair amount of speed bumps where, perhaps, none were intended. Although tons of games have used time travel as a gimmick or selling point, its deployment here is far more poignant. It wants you to wonder, "How will doing this here change that then?" The stakes are relatively high, as your decisions affect whether a man is paralyzed and his wife dies.

But one of the main problems with Last Day of June is how directionless you can feel even when you're pretty sure you're doing the "right" thing. This is complicated by the fact that you jump into what other characters were doing on that same fateful day, though not necessarily in a straight line. Each character's actions are more like variables in an equation rather than a static result: If, as the young boy, you convince the old man to let you use his rope to make a kite, you won't be able to borrow that rope as the other neighbor to secure her moving boxes as she leaves town. Out of context, this sounds inconsequential, but if the boy doesn't cause the accident, she will. It's only after a fair amount of experimenting that you'll be able to figure out what to do and when -- and the more you play, the more factors you'll have to slide around and reconfigure. The lack of hints or even subtle suggestions means you'll likely be twisting in the wind longer that intended. But the gorgeous graphics and eye-catching lighting and unusual plot make Last Day of June worth sticking with, even if sometimes you'll be fumbling in the dark. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the concept of loss. Has anyone close to you ever died? What did you do to deal with the loss? What advice would you give to someone else going through the same situation? 

  • Are there ways in which grief helps us become better people or teaches us a lesson we might not have learned otherwise? 

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