Faith is a tricky thing. It is earned, not mandated. Cultivated, not rushed. Faith is a deep, interesting theme that can just as easily end up a trite mess. There’s a balance to be struck with the holy (and unholy). Fortunately for us, one developer seems to have found that blessed harmony.
From developer Kumi Souls Games, The Last Faith is a Gothic Metroidvania with Soulslike elements. It’s dark, it’s bloody, and it’s a fun time throughout its roughly 17-hour run to credits. The Last Faith also notably wears its Bloodborne influence on its sleeve. There are a few tricks up there, too, but we’ll get to those.
To begin with that inspiration, The Last Faith is delightfully tinged with hints of FromSoftware’s Bloodborne. Gothic architecture abounds, with the city of Mythringal and its surrounding locales as charming as they are haunting. Every part of the map boasts its fair share of hunters, beasts, demons, and grotesque in-betweens. We even face them with a familiar-feeling arsenal of trick weapons, each with two forms to attack with. The surface-level similarities come right down to the silver bullets with a sanguine coating.
This is not to deride The Last Faith for being derivative. It takes a lauded setting we’ve seen before and manages to make it its own with an interesting story, engaging combat, and the visual flourishes only a pixel art style can offer.
Those flourishes start right from the basics. Aside from a run speed I found a little slow, The Last Faith’s basic moves are smooth and satisfying to execute, with tight animation cancels letting even small fights be a spectacle. Hacking, slashing, and dodge-rolling make a firm base, while parries, guns, and spells open up extra options. These secondary attacks can be neatly interspersed with your main moves or ignored entirely, which I appreciated. This is to say nothing of the trick moves which cost Mind (this game’s Intelligence stat), offering a third layer of combat prowess. Trick moves are fun, flashy, and useful when things get frantic during boss fights.
Opportunity for player expression abounds in Mythringal’s depths, and I embraced this wholeheartedly. Going for my usual Dexterity/Mind build for a mix of swift slashes, specials, and spells, I spent my first few hours with the zippy starter sword before adopting a massive Dex-scaling scythe for the rest of my journey. We got along swimmingly. However, while the build variety is nice, I would’ve appreciated some cosmetic options as well. Eryk’s long coat is cool-looking enough, but the monstrous Gothic setting definitely could have given us some fun outfits to find.
Fortunately, what we do find makes for a good time. Level design is a crucial pillar of any Metroidvania. It’s one thing to have a complex, sprawling, interconnected map—it also needs to be used well. The Last Faith leans into the supernatural side of its themes to do just that. My favorite location to explore was The Esk Mansion, a house equal parts opulent and decrepit. The Esk Mansion boasts a hall of mirrors, transporting Eryk around and across its halls with reckless abandon. Figuring out the layout and revealing more of the map was incredibly satisfying. Throughout The Last Faith, shortcuts and wraparounds perfectly hit that sweet spot of the genre; interesting to reach, useful for multiple instances. I even found my fair share of weapons and worldbuilding collectibles in secret rooms and paths, some of which remain unexplored even after rolling credits. Mythringal has more to share, and I appreciate it for that.
The Last Faith hits the mark with its unlockable traversal abilities as well, a Metroidvania must-have. These unlock after major bosses and enable further exploration of areas new and old. The air dash feels a bit lacking, but helps a ton when combined with other abilities I won’t spoil. What I most appreciated was how each new maneuver was complemented by later level design. New areas make full use of the tools used to reach them, making for some fun light platforming segments in between enemy encounters.
Less engaging is The Last Faith’s story. Adopting the classic Soulslike storytelling of cryptic notes and nihilistic dialogue, Eryk’s tale is by no means a boring affair. It just never really manages to grab my attention for too long. I was curious to explore NPC questlines, and enjoyed the tidbits of lore I found in notes and item descriptions. The voice acting is also well done, Lady Helenya aside (I cannot for the life of me place that accent). Narrative downfall comes, then, with the lack of substance. Eryk is cursed and must honor some vow or other to rid himself of his afflictions and… that’s about it. I listened and read where I could, but nothing more than the base framework of the story ever really stood out to me.
What does stand out is the gauntlet of major foes. Bosses in The Last Faith are simply a sensational time. While overall difficulty is a little on the easier side, every boss in Mythringal’s pantheon offers a moveset that is fun to learn and just the right level of challenging to master. The Last Faith’s bosses live up to their Soulslike inspirations with great spectacle, well-telegraphed moves, and the power trip that comes with slicing through a beast twice your size. Rolling, jumping, and dashing between massive attacks to then unload trick weapons moves is a phenomenal experience. Past a certain point, most bosses took me only 1-2 tries, but they never stopped entertaining me. Special shoutout to Laddak, a lategame boss who kept me on my toes the entire time (he didn’t make it past our first bout).
With fates fulfilled and great beasts slain, The Last Faith stands tall as a brilliant indie offering that more than lives up to its genre standards and thematic inspirations. Tight combat kept me hooked, while fun exploration makes for great moment-to-moment gameplay. I may not remember Eryk’s story for years to come, but Kumi Souls Games is now a studio I will gladly keep faith in for their next adventure.
Sarim reviewed The Last Faith on PC with a review code.