In The Last Guy, players take the role of a hero character who needs to save civilians from monsters that have overrun the streets of major cities of the world. The objective of the game is to save a certain amount of people within a given time frame by guiding them to the rescue zone.
The game consists of levels in a top-down view, made up of satellite images of real cities. Players have to avoid getting too close to any of the various monsters roaming the streets. They can switch to an infrared mode, where civilians hiding in buildings can be seen. Once The Last Guy comes close to them, they start forming a line behind him. Players can make the hero character dash for a short time or speed up the line of people behind them. It is also possible to quickly make an entire building join the line by encircling it with a long enough trail of people. To help the player, items can be picked up which freeze the monsters for a while for example.