The Final Specimen: Arrival – Review
Follow Genre: 2 indie action platformer
Developer: Gigantoraptor Games
Publisher: Video Game Music Studios
Platform: PC(Steam)
Tested on PC

The Final Specimen: Arrival – Review

Site Score
6.2
Good: Humor, old school experience, soundtrack
Bad: art design choices and presentation
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0
(0 votes)
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What would happen if you’re mixing old school platforming games from the 90’s with the insane comedy stories of cartoons like Rick & Morty? Well, we would guess that The Final Specimen: Arrival comes really close to that idea. Gigantoraptor Games is a small indie studio that created a comedic sci-fi adventure trying to replicate the style of the classic 2D platformers of the ’90s. A little while ago, a review copy was dropped in our mailbox and leaving us no other choice to try out this thrilling adventure. Let’s hope, we won’t get probed by extra-terrestrials during our playthrough…
The Final Specimen Arrival title

Story

The Final Specimen: Arrival takes place somewhere in the year 1996 in a place called Bird, Massachusetts. You’re an earthling called Thomas who’s watching the weather forecast on his television. The weather report predicts a meteor shower and the protagonist is excited to see it. When walking outside, the magnitude of the meteor shower surprises him. Suddenly, he’s getting struck by a meteor and awakens inside a transport tube on a strange planet. During transport, one of the tubes brakes down and you’re getting dropped on the surface of a city called Doofusville. Before you realize what has happened, you’re being attacked by the locals. After knocking your way through mobs of angry citizens and deathly contraptions, you finally get the chance to explain them what happened so far. In turn, they explain they’ve been ordered by a two individuals they call Monster and Geezer (apparently called Jones later on) to annihilate the intruder. Without considering the risks, Thomas decides to chase after these strange individuals to find out the truth behind his abduction.
The Final Specimen Arrival story

The story and plot isn’t crammed into the intro of the game but unfolds as you progress through the multiple levels. Although it’s a sci-fi adventure, don’t expect a deep and enthralling story like in other ccontemporary titles. You can even call the story quite eccentric and absurd. But overall, it’s still quite funny and entertaining as it’s like watching an episode of an absurd cartoon being aired on Cartoon Network. You can really enjoy it without thinking about a deeper meaning whatsoever and laugh with its tongue-in-cheek humor.

Graphics

If we take a closer look at The Final Specimen’s visuals, we’ve got to raise our eyebrows. At first glance, it looks like a low quality art design that’s being colored with Paint by a couple of amateurs. But if you spend some time into the game, you’ll notice that everything has been handled with much needed care. The art design doesn’t feel limited as both levels and characters feel unique and detailed. Even the cut scenes look decently animated. It even feels like you’re watching one of those cartoons on Cartoon Network or Comedy Central. Unfortunately, we fear that a lot of players will probably skip this title on graphics alone as it might not look appealing enough. Alas, we can only try to lecture gamers on the fact that good games don’t always need to be accompanied by great visuals.
The Final Specimen Arrival 01

Sound

The soundtrack of The Final Specimen: Arrival is surprisingly very extensive and feels like homage to music from the 90’s by fusing arcade music with elements of heavy metal, big band, and house. It’s especially extensive as every level has its own directed and up-tempo music track and is quite impressive for a small indie title like this one. The music really compliments the game’s atmosphere and the overall experience. Aside from its decent soundtrack and the generic in game sounds or tunes, every character and dialogue in the cutscenes has been voiced. Although the quality of the voice casting is below expectations as it feels like the developers have voiced everything themselves in order to save some budget for other aspects of the game.

Gameplay

The Final Specimen: Arrival is a 2D action platforming adventure that wants to revive the genuine style and experience from 2D platformers from the 90’s. As far as it takes this revival run, it succeeds pretty well in bringing that genuine experience as you’ll jump, crawl and swing from level to level in order to beat the game. In other words, every level is some sort of survival run as Thomas will have to dodge insane people, flying objects and deathly contraptions.
the final specimen arrival 02

Every level has its own hazards you’ll have to beat in order to reach the end of every level where a boss fight will test your limits. Most of the time you’ll be jumping from one platform to another. Unfortunately, because of the lower quality of artwork, the background and foreground blend together which makes it lot harder to dictate which piece of structure is mountable or not. At those particular moments, you’ll probably be pulling your hair as you’re already trying to keep your health points above the minimum while dodging artillery fire and ankle biting pizzas. Boss fights will be met at the end of each level, these boss fights hold elements from classic platformers such as Super Mario or Ducktales where a certain strategy is required to take them down. These boss fights in particular aren’t that difficult to beat, especially as most of them are easy to read and hit.

Your character has a limited amount of lives and health points. Lives can only be regained by collecting the ‘T’ tokens that are scattered through each level. At the easy difficulty, you’ll be able to collect them in large quantities while in hard mode; you’ll be having a rough time and will need to make do with the limited supply at hand. As for the health points, these can be regained through collecting the heart shaped tokens that are scattered through each level. These health points go down, each time you’re hit by objects or enemies. Don’t be mistaking, as certain objects, enemies or contraptions, won’t be taking your health points into account as they’ll take your life in one swoop. And if you manage to lose your life, you’ll be able to start from the last checkpoint you’ve reached in the current level. Aside from your lives and health points, you can also collect bombs. These bombs, aside from your trusty fists, are you’re only means of real offensive power in this game. They can be used to take down certain obstructions or enemies and can become quite scarce, so use them wisely.
the final specimen arrival 03

The game is packed with all kinds of challenges that are mixed in the Steam achievements for those who like to make the most of their game time. Aside from the trial and errors, you’ll encounter, this game can be completed under 2 à 3 hours. Players seeking a challenge can also try the harder but fair difficulty setting of the game. Overall, the game packs enough content for its cheap price on Steam.

Conclusion

The Final Specimen: Arrival is a fun and entertaining platforming adventure that really appeals with its absurd and tongue-in-cheek humor. Especially fans of old school platformers having a good sense of humor, will have a blast with this one. Although we had our fun reviewing and playing this title, it will be quite hard to recommend it. The Final Specimen is too straightforward for its own good and many players will probably overlook it as they’ll try their chances with games that are visually/story wise more impressive or appealing.

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JasuSakura
JasuSakura


Being over 30 years old, I've been playing videogames since I've exchanged my pacifier for a game controller. I've only recently started reviewing games and it's incredibly fun to do and educational as I get to know a lot of new stuff about videogames and the industry. My favourite game genres are RPG's(strategy RPG, J-RPG,...), adventure, platforming, simulation and retro.

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