The Last Survey – Review
Follow Genre: Casual, Adventure, Dystopian, Simulation, Visual novel
Developer: Essay Games, Nicholas O'Brien
Publisher: RedDeerGames, Nicholas O'Brien
Platform: Switch, PC, Mac
Tested on: Switch

The Last Survey – Review

Site Score
Good: Thought-provoking story, Beautiful visuals, Dynamic original soundtrack
Bad: No save/load option, No indication that this is meant to be played in one sitting, Niche game
User Score
(1 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)

You went into the field, and you’ve done all the research. You discovered something very disturbing about the future of the entire planet. With your assessments and conversation choices, can you persuade your employer to stop the company’s wrong-doings to the world? Or will your findings fall on unsympathetic ears? Try to encourage your employer to reconsider the consequences of his actions in The Last Survey. This is a short, minimalistic visual novel that wants to address globalism, extractive capitalism, and executive greed.


In this interactive story, you play the role of a specialist that is contracted by a megacorporation specialized in mining and gathering rare earth metals like nickel, silver, cobalt, and platinum. Your job is to survey the company’s reserves and report back to headquarters.

For the past year, you’ve been amongst the miners and in the dirt, collecting data through thorough research and your own experience. Your survey is now finally complete. However, your feelings are a bittersweet mix between contentment and frustration. After a long year of conducting your research, you’ve found that there are not enough of these metals on the planet to sustain industries reliant on current supply chains, and you must deliver these findings to the company’s CEO, Victor Ferreira. The latter is what the main focus of the gameplay/story will be. Through pivotal dialogue decisions, you might steer the conversation with Mr. Ferreira towards progressive action, encouraging your employer to take in the consequences of the company’s actions. Perhaps, you might even persuade him to change his ways.

The narrative is mostly the protagonist’s inner monologue – which are well-formulated thoughts of his observations of the surroundings and people, as well as his memories, and deductions. The detailed thoughts like how he’s feeling and how the sweat beaded from his temples due to nerves greatly help us put us in his shoes. In fact, the whole story is so well-written with refined English, we’d recommend The Last Survey to players with a high level of understanding of the language so the game can be truly appreciated for what it is.

From the game’s narrative alone, it’s not fully comprehensible what the intention of the game is here. Yes, the records show that everything is going downhill and that we need to persuade Ferreira to change the company’s ways. But what exactly is going downhill? What did our protagonist actually conclude from his data collecting? If the game is supposed to be thought-provoking or educational, as we suspect, shouldn’t the story go deeper into his findings, instead of how our protagonist is delivering said findings to his boss? According to the game’s Steam Store Page, we could find the following: “based on studies and projections from real-world geoscientists and mineral analysts, recent findings show there isn’t enough mineral material on the planet for the growing demands for electric cars, high-efficiency fuel cells, solar paneling manufacturing, and even some of the components used to play & produce this game.” This would be very interesting information to learn in the game itself, but only bits and pieces are given. The story would’ve been far more absorbing if the player got to learn more about the global mineral fatigue, instead of the dynamic between a CEO and their employee.


What The Last Survey definitely excels in is its impressive art style. The game features a unique graphical style that is created with over 1500 hand-drawn digital, graphite, and charcoal drawings. The minimalistic, less-is-more concept fits perfectly into its gameplay. The only aspect that could be improved is the transition between drawings. The animations weren’t very smooth. Even if this was intentional, it felt laggy, as if the frames kept dropping.


The game is accompanied by contemporary music that is created by famous composer Lewis Kopenhafer. The soundtrack is unique, dynamic, and overall hard to describe. It is quite good; if you could place it in a different setting, like Crash Bandicoot or another tense game. In The Last Survey, however, it was distracting and didn’t fit the ambiance.


The Last Survey is more of an interactive story and/or visual novel than it is an actual game. The premise here is mainly about delivering the completed survey to your employer and make him realize the urgency of the findings. So, it’s all about steering the story and conversation via the few dialogue options that you get to choose from throughout the game. There’s nothing more to it than that.

Choosing your dialogue options can feel quite redundant at times, especially when you didn’t know that the game has multiple endings. Only by replaying the game, you will notice the slight differences in the conversations between the both of you. You may sense changes in mannerism and behavior. This, unfortunately, isn’t a big game-changer. Literally. The Last Survey is not quite the “Choose-Your-Own-Adventure” as the developer claims it to be, since nothing really changes besides a few reaction moments. Your choices can, however, cut your conversation short and end the story abruptly.

There’s no description or explanation given about the game or its gameplay when you begin. We can either start the game immediately or read the credits. There’s also no indication that your dialogue choices change the course of the conversation, and there’s no indication that this game should be played in one sitting. The latter only became clear when we noticed there weren’t any save points. Merely mentioning these things could’ve made this experience far more enjoyable and make The Last Survey much more comprehensible. The only thing the game does indicate is that you’re going too fast during the paragraphs, which leads you to lose patience and leave HQ immediately. This means, clicking rapidly through the text isn’t an option. This even happens when replaying the game multiple times.


The story and narration, as well as the visuals and sound, are well thought out when it comes to The Last Survey. These components are all excellent on their own, but less impressive when put together. The thought-provoking theme of environmental issues is present but not in the foreground, which is so unfortunate for a game that aims to make it its core. This theme deserves more awareness than it’s getting now. The focus here was too much on the interaction between the two main characters, and on how the protagonist was feeling during the meeting. Because of this, it’s not clear what the intention of the game is. Are we supposed to be learning? Or just witness a conversation between a CEO and their employee? Most of the frustrations with saving, loading, the game’s intention, etc, can easily be solved with explanations at the start of the game. Perhaps this game should be viewed as an experience, more than a playable story. If you’re an avid reader, The Last Survey might be for you. If not, we’d recommend other visual novels to play.

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Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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The Last Survey – Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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