The Last Friend places you in control of Alpha, a strong and silent protagonist who travels a wasteland in a decked-out RV with a pack of his best friends. His best friends, of course, are dogs. Their leader is a spicy little chihuahua named T. Juan who does all the talking on behalf of the gang, and together Alpha and the pack fight off a horde of Mad Max-esque frat bros who have imprisoned dozens of dogs because… whatever, it doesn’t matter. The Last Friend's plot is nonsensical, but in the best of ways, and it’s really just there as set dressing to give some goofy context to the gameplay.
Each stage has you playing in a Plants vs. Zombies-like tower defense map, where your vulnerable RV is parked on the left and it’s up to Alpha and the goodest of bois to keep the frat bros attacking from the right from trashing it. You always have direct control over Alpha, who can freely jump between the three-to-five lanes in each level, beating up bad guys and ordering the dogs where to build their defenses. Every felled enemy will drop some scrap, which you can then spend on constructing more dog units or to upgrade existing ones. It’s a simple but effective system, buoyed by both the diversity of dog types on offer and the fast-paced action offered by Alpha’s controls. If you don’t want to wait for the dogs to do all the work, Alpha has a series of basic beat ‘em up-style combo attacks for putting down foes quicker.
Defeating foes and beating stages earns you dog treats, which you can then spend at a shop in each region to upgrade your dogs and increase how many times you can level them up in a given stage. Meanwhile, every stage has up to three stars you can earn for meeting certain requirements—like not letting the RV get hit or winning under a certain time limit—and these stars can then be spent on global upgrades to things like build efficiency and different ‘classes’ of dogs. Together, these two progression systems help to instill The Last Friend with a satisfying amount of player agency, giving you plenty of control over how you grow your team.
All this is presented in a gorgeous art style rife with neon cartoon visuals which nicely accent the carefree nature of the gameplay and story. Everything runs at a smooth 60 FPS and little features like every level receiving its own unique title card showcase some nice attention to detail.
Similarly to the many doggos it stars, it’s tough to find much to dislike about The Last Friend. Fast-paced tower defense action, a gorgeous art style, satisfying progression, and a goofy story make this one an easy recommendation. Plus, you can pet all the dogs! What more could you want?