A thief crosses a dark room, his prize a lone safe…A mysterious woman wearing a hat and sunglasses leaves a soon to be demolished apartment building…A man with no job returns to the only place he calls home…and a letter about long ago secrets.
So much has changed since that fateful trip to Hotel Dusk, a year ago. For Kyle Hyde the past never seems to stay in the past. The past and the present collide as the secrets of Cape West hit close to home for our former gumshoe turned salesman.
Last Window: The Secret of Cape West is a 2010 Nintendo DS single-player adventure visual novel and the final game produced by the now defunct company, Cing. Because of Cing filing bankruptcy, the game was not released for the North American market. Like its predecessor, Hotel Dusk, Last Window is played by holding the DS system sideways like a book.
It’s one year after the events of Hotel Dusk and Kyle Hyde is on his way back home for some much deserved R & R, when he is unceremoniously fired from Red Crown. Out of a job and looking forward to a vacation, Hyde makes his way home to Cape West Apartments. Once there he learns that the building is scheduled for demolition and that he has thirty days to move out. Out of a job and one step away from being homeless the day only gets better for Hyde when a mysterious envelope appears under his door. The letter inside, instructs him to uncover the secrets of Cape West and to uncover the whereabouts of the Scarlet Star.
With only thirty days before the demolition, Hyde must race against the clock to uncover new secrets from the past. Along the way he discovers that his father’s death may be connected to an incident from long ago.
Main & Recurring
Kyle Hyde is a former New York City detective and door to door salesman for Red Crown. He’s a terrible salesman with an even worse disposition, which often gets him in trouble with his boss, Ed Vincent. He is still looking for his partner and uses his current job to search for clues to his whereabouts.
Ed Vincent is the owner of Red Crown and Hyde’s boss. He and Hyde’s father worked together years on the police force, and has kept an eye on Hyde since his father’s untimely death. Because of his past as a police officer, he has a wide information network, which he uses to help Hyde in his search for his missing partner.
Rachel is Ed’s secretary and the main go between for Hyde and Red Crown. She and Hyde share some obvious flirting throughout the game, from time to time she’ll call him “Handsome”. She is now the guardian of Mila Evans from the first game. Despite their closeness, she knows little about Hyde’s past, she respects his privacy never once asks him to divulge anything to her.
Cape West Staff & Residents
Margaret Patrice is a widower and landlady of the Cape West apartment building. Many of the residents refer to her by the nickname Mags, instead of her given name. She is an elegant and sophisticated woman, despite her age, she is still a very attractive woman. While she is normally even tempered, she has been know to get upset when residents are late with their rent payments.
Dylan Fitchar is the maintenance man for Cape West apartments. Because of his job, he has access to all parts of the apartment building. Dylan always seems to turn up in the most unlikeliest of places. He collects butterflies and other odds and ends. He takes an interest in Hyde, offering him assistance. Dylan may come off as slow and a little dopey, but there is more to him than meets the eye.
Tony Wolfe is a down on his luck musician. He is perpetually broke, and has a habit of borrowing money from his neighbors. He is constantly on the look out for Margaret Patrice, to whom he owes rent money to. He’s an easy going guy and considers Hyde to be a good friend (much to Hyde’s annoyance). He and neighbor Betty have and on again relationship.
Frank is an old curmudgeon (reminds me of old Bruce Wayne from Batman Beyond) and former police officer who lives in Cape West. He and Hyde share a similar disposition, and I’d like to imagine that one day Hyde will be just like him when he gets older. He has a habit of walking around the apartment building at night…it’s almost as if he is patrolling the building.
Marie Rivet is a resident of the Cape West apartment building. After the deaths of her husband and brother in a car accident, she lives alone, isolating herself from her neighbors. The accident that killed her brother and husband has more to do with the secrets of Cape West than she lets on. She tries to come off as weak and defenseless.
Rex Foster is a mysterious man who turns up at Cape West shortly after Kyle Hyde. No one knows who he is or where he’s from. He seems to be doing his own investigation of the apartment and Margaret Patrice. He and Hyde are constantly at odds throughout the game. He knows more about the goings on of the apartment than he lets on.
The gameplay is typical of a visual novel, the player controls Kyle Hyde as he moves around Hotel Dusk as he searches for clues and interacts with other characters.The player uses the touch screen to move Hyde from place to place. The touch screen aspect of the DS is heavily used in this game, from basic navigation to puzzle solving. Like it’s predecessor, the DS is held at a 90 degree angle, to give the player the feeling that they are reading an interactive novel.
A majority of the gameplay requires the player to interact with the apartment residents and staff in order to find out information. The player can have Hyde show inventory items to other characters or ask them questions. The player must gauge the other characters reactions and ask the right questions in the correct order to acquire the information he needs. If done incorrectly the character in question will get upset and/or refuse to answer, resulting in a game over. From time to time the player will need to solve various puzzles that utilize many of the features of the Nintendo DS system. These puzzles range from fairly easy to hard, and while a majority of them utilize the touch screen, the microphone and closing the DS are used as well. The game adds a new feature not included in the previous game, at the end of each chapter the player can re-read the events of the chapter in e-book form.
While I enjoyed Last Window: The Secrets of Cape West, overall, I was disappointed with the lack of major improvements from the last game. It has everything that I loved from Hotel Dusk, but Cing dropped the ball in terms of improvements. I understand that Cing is a small company and that at the time of production they were already on their last legs, but it would have been nice to see them go out with a bang. The only noticeable new feature is the inclusion of an e-book style recap feature. Players can now relive completed chapters as if they were chapters of a book. I especially like the throw back to the first game by having Martin Summers (the author from the first game) listed as the author of Last Window. While I enjoyed this addition people not accustomed to intense reading in video games may find additional reading on top of an already text heavy game daunting.
What the game lacked in new features, it more than made up for in story! I love plot heavy games like this, and the mystery and suspense of Last Window are a delight. I found myself getting caught up in the unique histories of each and every character in the game. The characters all worked well off of each other, and I love that at times Hyde steps back, allowing the side characters to really shine!
I thoroughly enjoyed this game, and I’m a little sad that we won’t be getting anymore installments of the Kyle Hyde saga. I wish there were more games out there like this, but with the success of the Ace Attorney series maybe we will see more visual novel styled games in the future. All in all this game is well worth the playthrough for fans of the Hotel Dusk: Room 215 and mystery/espionage detective novels. So, my final rating is…
4 Scarlet Stars out of 5
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