The Last Kids on Earth and the Staff of Doom – Review
Follow Review: Action, RPG, Arcade
Developer: Stage Clear Studios
Publisher: Outright Games Ltd.
Platform: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Switch
Tested on: Switch

The Last Kids on Earth and the Staff of Doom – Review

Site Score
5.0
Good: Story segments, Overall offset
Bad: Bland, Constant grind, Controls, Frame dips
User Score
2.5
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 2.5/10 (2 votes cast)

While here in Belgium the series may not be extremely popular (yet), The Last Kids on Earth is a fairly new animated Netflix series about a bunch of kids trying to survive, which is in turn based on a book series. The cartoon revolves around kids/teenagers riding out a zombie apocalypse together, with the occasional monster rearing its ugly head. Nonetheless, not all monsters are bad in this end-of-the-world scenario. Now, a game has been released, introducing a new storyline for those eager for more content. Sadly, as is the case with many games based on children’s series, it’s overpriced, clunky and very rough around the edges.

Story

The Staff of Doom will provide a completely new and original storyline for fans of The Last Kids on Earth, which is certainly one of the game’s biggest assets. The game will expect you to know the characters already, but seeing the limited background of the overall series, there is not that much to take in. You’ll come across Malondre, Queen of the Slime Monsters, who is on a mission to resurrect Rezzoch the Ancient, Destructor of Worlds. It’s clear that this does not bode well for the few survivors left on Earth, and it’s up to Jack, Dirk, June and Quint to put a stop to this diabolical plan. The overall presentation is okay, but this is mainly thanks to the comic-book-like cutscenes sprinkled in between main events. Other conversations are presented a bit blandly.

Graphics

As we tried the Switch version of the game, the overall visuals aren’t too bad. It won’t take long before you start noticing that every asset is used a million times in the world of The Last Kids on Earth, and that there is an overall lack of variety. Nonetheless, the overall representation stays true to the series, even if you never get to see any of the characters in detail. The game is always very ‘zoomed out’ making sure no details are noticeable. Even with the very empty environments, the game suffers from heavy frame drops when battling bigger enemies or when multiple zombies spawn in the vicinity. It’s clear that this title has not been fully optimized at all.

Sound

The overall sound quality is not too bad. The music is okayish, and the sound effects serve their purpose. Some minor catchphrases or taglines are repeated a bit too often, but the game does not have that much voice acting in it anyway. There are a few voiced cutscenes, but most of the game’s dialogue is mute. Then again, we weren’t extremely upset with the lack of voice acting, as Jack, who is voiced by Nick Wolfhard, has the most grating and annoying voice ever. Before playing this game, we cannot say we ever experienced wanting to punch an animated kid in the face before.

Gameplay

The Last Kids on Earth and the Staff of Doom is a top-down arcade RPG-like experience. We put the RPG aspect in here, as you can level up, collect new gear and also level up those pieces of equipment. Other than that, the game always follows the same format, where you have to run to a certain location, beat up some zombies or other monsters, collect a few items and report back to the town square. The overall offset is simple and straightforward, but we soon noticed that this game is quite dull when playing it solo, and becomes a bit more fun when having a friend joining you via local multiplayer.

When playing the game, the controls are also quite simple, but certain things feel a bit harder to control. Ranged characters, for example, have a lot more trouble destroying random clutter, which normally allows them to collect scrap for upgrades. Melee characters, in turn, have difficulties dodging certain enemies, always resulting in being hit by them. Nonetheless, the overall control scheme is simple and works ‘fine’ as a whole. Driving around in your ‘Big Mama’ vehicle feels excruciatingly annoying, as handling is horrible, and more than once the car will just get stuck when driving close to fences.

Outside of the core loop of running around, bashing some zombie skulls, and completing objectives, the game does try to spice things up once in a while. This is done by playing a small tower defense game now and then, or by allowing you to swap and upgrade gear. The further tries to expand its gameplay portion by providing some collectibles or challenges when driving around with Big Mama. That being said, it all feels shallow and very repetitive from start to finish. We also noticed that some quests were not marked on the map properly after a certain point. The game would then indicate we had to be in the town square. Even when trying to use the quick travel function, it would not mark the quest location properly on the map. Only when walking outside, it would update our map, and we had to walk the entire route, as going back to the town square would trigger the bug again. This felt like it dragged out the needless grinding even more.

Conclusion

The Last Kids on Earth and the Staff of Doom has some pleasant elements, and for kids who like the show, there’s some fun to be had. Nonetheless, the game suffers from little content and a lot of grinding to get something done, to awkward controls, frame drops, and overall lazy design. For its current price tag, you’ll get more polished titles elsewhere that will also resonate with the target audience. When in heavy discount, we can certainly see this one becoming a fun pick-up-and-play experience.

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Rating: 2.5/10 (2 votes cast)
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The Last Kids on Earth and the Staff of Doom - Review, 2.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Ibuki


Aspiring ninja.

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