Lorelei and the Laser Eyes Review – Start from the Beginning

True to the developers' past catalog, Lorelei and the Laser Eyes is a unique and memorable game.

Posted By | On 17th, May. 2024

Lorelei and the Laser Eyes Review – Start from the Beginning

Lorelei and the Laser Eyes is a very unique and striking experience that merits playing almost solely on the back of that uniqueness, and the extremely singular atmosphere that it creates and casts. On consideration, a lot of that isn’t surprising — it’s by the same developers who delivered the wildly popular Sayonara Wild Hearts a few years ago, a game which had a lot of the same strengths as this one. But where Sayonara felt more focused on spectacle and using its audiovisual strengths for emotive storytelling, Lorelei is a more mechanically involved game. Don’t get me wrong, this is still a game that is strong in characterization and storytelling, and in unique ways that are distinct to games as a medium, but now there’s a lot more meat on the bone now. 

"Much like Sayonara, what is truly striking about Lorelei, at least at first glance, is the visuals."

Lorelei and the Laser Eyes is essentially set up as one of those old school adventure games — if you played any of LucasArts or Sierra’s catalog in the 1990s, or any classic text adventure games, or even some more modern visual novels such as the Ace Attorney or Zero Escape games, you’ll have some basic context and idea for how it works. You’re basically going around the game’s environs, investigating things, contextually interacting with them based on the knowledge or items you may have at the moment, and puzzling things out. There’s obviously the game’s own twists and takes on the formula — you can do things out of order (which may change how things unfold), and you can gradually unlock shortcuts that help finding your way across easier and less of a hassle. But you’re playing, at its core, an adventure game.  

Much like Sayonara, what is truly striking about Lorelei, at least at first glance, is the visuals. The game is highly stylized, using a monochromatic palette (broken by splashes of color used sparingly to great effect) — and it’s a hell of a look. The visuals are immediately eye catching, and in spite of how simple they may seem, they cast an incredible, incredible atmosphere that almost makes the location the game is set at come to life as a character all of its own. The developers Simogo recommend that you play this game in a dimly lit area — and I personally second that recommendation because it can definitely enhance the effect and the impact. 

Lorelei and the Laser Eyes

"Lorelei and the Laser Eyes is a very unique and striking experience that merits playing almost solely on the back of that uniqueness, and the extremely singular atmosphere that it creates and casts."

The impact of that story will presumably depend from player to player, but to be honest, I think it’s the best thing about the game. The puzzles are fairly simplistic — we’re talking about basic observation, memory/recall, math, and “have the right item in your inventory” sort of things here. But they remain fun enough to add the extra mechanical depth to this game that I previously mentioned, and definitely make it a lot more compelling to explore the world and engage with it (and get lost more and more in its unique atmosphere). It also helps that you get to find optional items in the world if you explore, which can make it worth it to engage with the world all on its own for just that reason. 

But ultimately, all of this is playing second fiddle to the fact that, subjective experiences aside, for most people, the meat of this game shall be the story, and how it is told. And it’s an extremely interesting setup. The game begins with no preamble or introduction, and you figure out, as you play more, that you were invited to a hotel for some reason by an unknown person. Nothing else is truly known — when the game starts, Lorelei is truly a blank slate, and the game strongly suggests that in their quest to fulfill the game’s objective, which is to “uncover the truth of what happened” they should be questioning every single thing — up to and including Lorelei’s own identity and participation in these events. 

From there the story gets more and more bizarre and strange, as you find fragments that seem random and disconnected, until more and more a picture begins to form. That picture may not necessarily be comforting — the game’s scenario can get extremely surreal and meta, and it touches upon themes that may be difficult for some players. Matters are further compounded by the game’s non linearity, meaning you can come across something that seems even more out of place a whole lot earlier than you have the context to make sense of it. 

lorelei and the laser eyes

"Lorelei and the Laser Eyes is an experience that’s more than the sum of its parts. It’s not a game that will appeal to everyone, given its singular vision and how much it adheres to it."

I personally really enjoy this style. It’s a unique, interactive form of storytelling that is something that can only happen in video games — while movies like, say, Memento employ a lot of similar fragmentary and non linear techniques in theory for their storytelling, they are ultimately the exact same experience for every single person who engages with them, whereas Lorelei can unfold extremely differently for each player, depending not just on what they choose to interact with and how much they choose to engage with the game, but also when. 

Lorelei and the Laser Eyes is an experience that’s more than the sum of its parts. It’s not a game that will appeal to everyone, given its singular vision and how much it adheres to it, and as I mentioned, the game has some shortcomings that could grate on the player. But it is extremely unique, extremely immersive, and very, very, very distinct to video games as a medium. Like this developer’s previous games, this is a title that you may come away from untouched or may find making a surprisingly large impression on you. It depends on just how much you find yourself in the footsteps of Lorelei as she tries to uncover the truth. But for me, the experience was incredibly unique, and well worth it. If you’re at all a fan of mystery stories, adventure games, or just really unique experiences, your takeaway will hew far closer to mine — and you’ll come away really enjoying what this game has to offer. 

This game was reviewed on Nintendo Switch.


THE GOOD

Striking visuals and great atmosphere; great, non-linear storytelling that is unique to the medium of video games; world has an interesting design that encourages exploration.

THE BAD

The puzzles feel extremely basic; the story and how it is told can be off-putting for some players, depending on how and in what order they engage with it.

Final Verdict:
GREAT
Lorelei and the Laser Eyes is a unique, distinct, and memorable experience that leverages the strengths of video games as a storytelling medium. It is recommended for anyone who is interested in mystery stories or adventure games.
A copy of this game was provided by Developer/Publisher/Distributor/PR Agency for review purposes. Click here to know more about our Reviews Policy.

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