Lorelei and the Laser Eyes Review – Weird and Wonderful

Lorelei and the Laser Eyes Review

Annapurna Interactive is renowned for publishing innovative titles that push the boundaries of video games as an art form. After a successful partnership with Simogo on the techno road trip, Sayonara Wild Hearts, the duo take a sharp left turn for their new venture, Lorelei and the Laser Eyes. Swapping the neon-lit, musical adventure for a monochromatic, puzzle murder mystery, their new exploit couldn’t be more different. Will this departure deliver an experience as mesmerizing and memorable as their previous release?

An eccentric artist invites you to a strange, maze-like hotel to be part of his ‘magnum opus’. Upon arrival, you discover everything is not what it seems as there is a sinister undercurrent to proceedings. What first appears to be a simple murder mystery evolves into an odd tale encompassing various stories you unearth as you explore the overwhelming environment. Each room and exhibit tells a story that fleshes out the peculiar world and engrosses you in the confusing but intriguing Lynchian narrative.

Let Me Cross Reference That

Simogo respects your intelligence, drip-feeding information through documents and puzzles so that you slowly understand the events that have taken place. There’s a commitment to context with a plethora of text-based items to allow you to piece together information. Although the game is intentionally vague, it continues to offer threads and beats that keep the plot at the forefront. The methodical approach to storytelling may deter certain players, however, the abstract slant helps to make this a truly memorable experience.

The creepy hotel is the centerpiece of the adventure. Peculiar decor adorns each room and corridor, building an oppressive atmosphere that follows each tentative step. As you try to navigate the environment, you’ll encounter an array of challenging puzzles. These are diverse and require you to use the environment, documents that you have collected and other elements to determine the solution. Due to the number of routes and conundrums that permeate the world, there’s always an alternative path to follow when you hit a barrier. As the difficulty is high, this will happen quite often. Frustration can ensure as at times, certain puzzles seem impossible to decipher, however, there’s nothing more rewarding than when everything clicks and you work out how to progress.

There’s Always Another Way

Most of the problems you encounter are logic or number-related and are often rooted in text that you stumble across. The books you find will remain in the protagonist’s psyche due to her photographic memory. This allows you to instantly revisit any item you have seen to help you decode cryptic clues. As you are constantly referring to different texts, a notepad and pen are essential. This harkens back to a classic era and fosters a deep immersion in the situations you encounter to deliver a larger sense of accomplishment. Without any real method of support, it is likely that you’ll reach a point where you can’t continue. While it’s a brave move to feature such sophisticated puzzles without any hint mechanic, it could disaffect players resulting in a low completion rate.

The retro ethos imbues Lorelei and the Laser Eyes with its point-and-click style gameplay, text adventure segments and even DOS-like computers. Simogo is not afraid to jump between visual styles to quickly alter the tone and flip expectations. Fans of early adventure games will be enamored with its quirky references, however, this may not resonate with everyone and could further alienate part of its audience. The unwavering commitment to its vision is commendable and if you buy into this, it’s a remarkable experience, however, its appeal is purposely niche and differs greatly from Sayonara Wild Hearts.

Enter the Bizarre

There’s an unsettling atmosphere that engulfs the entirety of the game. The static camera angles reminiscent of classic survival horror titles such as Resident Evil create a disconnect and place you in a voyeuristic position as you watch events unfold. Accent colours are sparingly used to highlight key elements giving the game further character. Mixed with the stoic character models and lounge-style soundtrack, this builds an odd aesthetic that will burrow deep into your psyche.

Lorelei and the Laser Eyes is a twisted puzzle adventure like no other. The high-brow approach to gameplay requires you to read pages from books to learn the fundamentals that enshroud the range of conundrums that you’ll come across. Simogo don’t underestimate your ability, leaving you to ponder clues and work out the solution. While this can halt your progress and lead to cycling around the same puzzles, it makes decryption much more satisfying. The game stubbornly sticks to its principles to the detriment of accessibility, however, losing yourself to the deep layers of intrigue makes this an unforgettable trip.

***A Nintendo Switch code provided by the publisher***

The Good

  • Sophisticated Puzzles
  • Weird and Wonderful Design
  • Varied Visuals

The Bad

  • Some Very Difficult Puzzles
  • Pace May Not Appeal to Everyone
  • Confusing Story