May 31, 2024

Review: Lorelei and the Laser Eyes

Topics: Review
Lorelei and the Puzzle Eyes

Lorelei and the Laser Eyes, developed by Simogo and published by Annapurna Interactive, is a unique experience that caters to both puzzle enthusiasts and fans of narrative-driven games. Set in a mysterious hotel reminiscent of the eerie mansion from Resident Evil, the game initially restricts access to most of the environment. Players must crack combination locks, find keys, and solve a variety of puzzles to unlock new areas and delve deeper into the hotel’s secrets.

The world is presented in a striking monochromatic style, accented with the dramatic use of red, and exudes a dreamy, Lynchian atmosphere. Most of the story is revealed through documents scattered throughout the hotel, many of which double as clues for the puzzles. This integration of story and puzzles is one of the game’s strongest features, with later challenges testing the player’s attentiveness to the details presented throughout their journey.

The gameplay loop of Lorelei revolves around solving a variety of logic puzzles. Most of the puzzles can be solved with in-game context clues, but some require basic real-world knowledge and (gasp) MATHS! The game often has players working on multiple puzzles simultaneously which means if you get stuck on one you can attempt another. There are a few bottleneck puzzles though that can halt progress. While this can be frustrating, solving these puzzles can often lead to a satisfying cascade of progression. 

Early on, the game instructs players to write things down, prompting me to break out a notebook for the first time in ages. I filled pages with scribblings and took copious screenshots to aid in solving the intricate puzzles. It’s been years since I had to physically jot down puzzle clues in a notebook, and the experience was nostalgic and even fun!

While most puzzles are well-crafted, some felt arbitrary. For instance, a few combination locks lacked context clues in their vicinity, and I was fortunate to solve them quickly due to an earlier, unrelated puzzle. Additionally, accessing one particular area was more about being observant than solving a puzzle, which felt slightly out of sync with the rest of the game. However, the final puzzle is a masterful culmination of everything learned, akin to the brilliant end puzzle in Tunic.

One downside of the game is its interface. Despite the protagonist’s photographic memory allowing access to key information at any time, the lack of a back button leads to needless menu scrolling. Additionally, the inability to back out of puzzles without inputting the wrong answer feels like an unnecessary limitation. This design choice, likely intended to allow single-button interaction, seems out of place on PC and Switch.

Final Thoughts:

Lorelei and the Laser Eyes is a remarkable puzzle game that offers a unique blend of nonlinear storytelling, atmospheric design, and challenging puzzles. Fans of narrative-driven puzzle games and those who appreciate a Lynchian aesthetic will find much to love here. Despite some pacing issues towards the end and minor interface flaws, the overall experience is highly rewarding.

Final Score: 9/10

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