Review – Last Window: The Secret of Cape West (NDS)

Last Window: The Secret of Cape West
Platform: Nintendo DS
Reviewer: MidnightScott
Date: May 12, 2011
Last Window: The Secret of Cape West is the sequel to the 2007 sleeper hit Hotel Dusk: Room 215 on the Nintendo DS. The game once again features main character Kyle Hyde, age 34, but this time set in a hotel turned apartment complex called Cape West. Kyle Hyde and his neighbors are all about to be evicted in December 1980 in Los Angeles, as the owner Margaret has decided to sell off the complex. Just as he was getting ready to find a new place to live, Kyle received a mysterious order after being fired from Red Crown. Clients never contact personell directly. The order received mentions that Kyle needs to find the Scarlet Star, a mysterious jewel that went missing 25 years ago. If he is able to locate the Scarlet Star, he will be able to find out what led to his fathers murder. Kyle decides to take the order anyway even after Ed told him to disregard it, as he wants to learn what happened to his father more than anything before Cape West is shutdown for good.

The sequel is pretty similar to Hotel Dusk, using a simple menu system with a Load & Save option, as well as which hand you want to play with. A novel called Last Window is also featured, which is completed after finishing a chapter, allowing you to revisit the events of the story. This is a pretty helpful feature if you take a break from the game and forget what you already completed.

You play Last Window by turning the DS vertically, just as if you were reading a book. Pointing and clicking is once again the main feature, it’s how you move Kyle around and help search for items and information from the various rooms in the apartments. I am really annoyed that Kyle moves too slow either by using the stylus or the d-pad to move him around. I wish they would’ve fixed that, my hands were always so tired after 30 minutes of play. Here is hoping that if there are ever anymore games in the series, that they will make improvements to the controls. These visual novels are all about learning about a story and trying to solve the mystery behind it.

The new Inquire system is introduced in this game. Sometimes when you are talking to someone in the game, an Inquire option will appear after they mention some kind of key information that progresses the story. The Inquire option usually leads to like a question or two, and you have to figure out the order to ask them in. If you ask the wrong question before, this will usually end up with the character getting angry or leading to a game over. Figuring out the order of the questions is key, so you really have to pay attention to what the characters say if you want to progress in the game. At the end of each chapter, Kyle will quiz himself about the events of the chapter you just finished, but it’s usually pretty simple. Even if you pick the wrong answer it will just ask you the same question again, giving you another chance. Puzzles are also a returning feature of the game. You usually just have to find some kind of item in the room to help you reach what is holding you back. The puzzles are all pretty simple, so you won’t find yourself stumped for very long or often. It’s not a hard game by any means, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble if you pay attention.

Visually the game is pretty much the same as Hotel Dusk. Characters are drawn in black and white, and feature them moving their arms around or nodding, disagreeing, and showing their emotions. I really love this aspect of the game, it makes it seem like it’s a noir type detective game. They actually modeled the characters after real people, whose pictures were taken and then drawn by the animators into the game, sometimes with a little bit of characterization added in to make it seem more realistic.

The music in the game is pretty similar to Hotel Dusk, featuring a dramatic piano sound and a bit upbeat when Kyle learns new information, or when he is just trodding around the building. Hearing the music really does make me think of old detective stories. The Cafe in the game has a Jukebox which will fill up with the songs heard as you progress through the game. I thought that was a nice feature so you can come back and just listen to the music.Various sound effects actually sound pretty accurate such as an old wheel dial type phone, door buzzer, and opening and closing wooden doors.

Last Window is very similar to Hotel Dusk in that it doesn’t really feature much of a reason to replay the game. There are no alternate endings whatsoever, but who would want that for a straightforward game like this? You could always go back and ask the questions in a different order, which will sometimes lead to different answers, but there is no reward other than to try and enjoy the story one more time.

Most of the time I felt like some events of the story weren’t explored thoroughly, or that they were tacked on as filler. It is really too bad that CiNG, the developer of these games as well as the Another Code series, closed it’s doors last year. I really hope that somehow, Kyle Hyde can get another game where he is truly made into a great character. I really enjoy his attitude and mannerisms, so it’s something I want to see more of in the future. Overall, Last Window is a good followup to Hotel Dusk, but it just needed something more to make it a truly amazing experience.

Score: B

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About MidnightScott
I am a huge Nintendo fan, but I also own a PS3. I love video games, anime, music, movies, and the internet! The 3DS is really awesome and I'm looking forward to playing more fun and unique games in the future.

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