Last Call lets ordinary people play bartender for a night at a colorful New York City bar. While the game's humorous characters and voice-acting add flavor to the real-time drink-mixing simulation, they don't completely make up for the repetitive gameplay.
The object of the game is to earn tips by mixing drinks and serving them to customers. To pass each level, you must receive a minimum amount of tips and serve a minimum amount of drinks. The faster you can accurately give the customers the drink they want, the faster you'll earn tips.
The game uses a simple point-and-click interface to let you access the wide range of ingredients behind the counter, along with optional hotkeys that will speed up drink-mixing in later levels. To pick up a bottle, you click once; to pour, you drag the bottle over a glass (or other container) and hold down the mouse button, at which point a dialog box will open displaying the contents of the container. The longer the mouse button is held down, the more liquid is poured into the glass. Bartenders are rated at the end of every round for accuracy, and the closer the drink is to the recipe listed in the recipe book, the bigger the tip will be. In addition, there is an option to flirt with the customer to get a bigger tip (and sometimes an amusing response), but if this feature is used to excess, then the customer will become offended and will leave without tipping.
There are hazards included in the game as well: If you get caught serving a drink to an underage customer, you'll lose the game. To avoid this, you must use the "carding" function to determine who is of legal age, and the variety of ID cards in the game are another source of amusement. If a customer is found to be underage, you can call the bouncer, an enormous figure in a black T-shirt who'll pick up customers by the neck and escort them out of the bar, often to the sound of their vocal protests.
The game includes a recipe book with instructions for mixing more than 100 different drinks, which in itself is somewhat educational for those who like to mix drinks at home or who want to learn a new drink to order next time they go out. To help you learn the locations of each ingredient, the game has an optional floating-help feature. So, when a recipe calls for grenadine or bitters, you need only move the mouse around the bar area until you see the correct ingredient displayed.
The game progression consists of moving up to the next level, which requires you to serve more complicated drinks, faster, to a more boisterous and colorful clientele. The game features more than a dozen levels, so even the most quick-fingered players should be challenged in the later stages of the game, although more complicated drinks and more impatient customers seem to be the only reward for having completed the previous round. There's a short bonus round between each level where customers appear at the bar and ask for a single ingredient. These bonus rounds help you learn the layout of the bar without having to worry about mixing drinks.
What makes the game particularly entertaining is the voice-acting. Last Call features twenty different characters, from average barflies to cavemen and rodents to gods and superheroes, and each one has his own dialog and voice (except when you're in one of in the bonus rounds, where every character's one-word request sounds like a Speak-and-Spell). To add to the amusement, there is no penalty for bouncing customers other than the loss of that tip, and each customer has a different humorous reaction to the bouncer.
The simple graphics of the game include a combination of both semirealistic bar accessories and cartoonlike characters. The occasional animations used in the game are choppy, and they seem to have a problem regulating their speed, as some actions are too fast, while other actions too slow.
Overall, Last Call is a fast-paced, entertaining, and humorous game for adults that can teach the casual player some fun drink recipes. Anything beyond the occasional play session will likely appeal only to a select group of people, including aspiring bartenders and gamers who appreciate fast-reaction timed puzzle games.