Lorelei and the Laser Eyes Nintendo Indie World Showcase

Review: Lorelei and the Laser Eyes

Lorelei and the Laser Eyes is a blast from the past in all the best ways. While Simogo has primarily been a mobile developer, it branched out with Sayonara Wild Hearts in 2019. Now, the studio is working on its latest follow-up, and it feels like it pulls inspiration from the studio’s previous games, Year Walk and Device 6.

However, it also feels mechanically like something from the 1990s, when games like Resident Evil broke into the scene. From the opening moments, there’s a clear sense of dread I find myself experiencing as there’s so little to go on and a ton of mystery in front of me.

It’s pretty clear that, at this point, Annapurna Interactive is on an incredible streak with recent releases like Cocoon, Stray, Thirsty Suitors, Neon White, and Storyteller. I’m sold on the publisher and what they’ve done in recent years — highlighting and working with some incredible indie studios.

Meet Me at Hotel Letztes Jahf

The noir art style of Lorelei and the Laser Eyes is a crucial element that sets the tone for the game. Much of its visuals are rendered in black and white, with occasional splashes of colour, typically red, strategically used to enhance the atmosphere. This artistic choice adds a layer of intrigue to the exploration, creating an ominous world that draws players in.

From the outset, players are immersed in a narrative shrouded in mystery. Controlling a woman whose car has broken down in the woods, players encounter strange documents in her glove box and a looming, enigmatic hotel in the background. The game starts with the main character arriving in a wooded area without explanation, immediately engaging players in its mystery. From this intriguing introduction, players are given hints of what’s to come as they navigate through dialogue and player direction to determine their next moves.

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Each scene emanates an aura of mystery, prompting players to brace themselves for the unknown. However, the true nature of the mystery and the protagonist’s motivations become more apparent once they reach a creepy hotel. This initial ambiguity serves as a hook, compelling players to push forward despite uncertainty about the game’s objectives and storyline.

As players progress through Lorelei and the Laser Eyes, the experience unfolds gradually, revealing new oddities and obscurities at every turn. When players think they are beginning to understand something, another mystery emerges, keeping them engaged and intrigued. This unfolding narrative is a core aspect of the game’s appeal, with players driven by their curiosity and the deliciously bizarre nature of the game world.

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The game is rich with puzzles, particularly within the hotel setting, which is a central location for much of the playtime. Players encounter locked doors, cupboards with combinations, and various mysterious objects that initially seem inscrutable. However, as the narrative progresses, players receive incremental information that allows them to unlock puzzles and make sense of the world around them. Lorelei and the Laser Eyes challenge players to solve puzzles while immersing them in its captivating and surreal atmosphere.

Simogo requested that you keep a pen and paper beside you at the start. This feels like an homage to games of a simpler time and, more recently, found in Tunic. I took screenshots, and my iPad was the most helpful as I jotted down crucial dates in time, a collection of numbers I needed to remember, and a ton of basic arithmetic required to solve puzzles across the hotel’s interior.

The storytelling in Lorelei and the Laser Eyes is deliberate; information trickles as you explore and solve the overarching mysteries. Drawing inspiration from creators like David Lynch, the game sustains tension and anticipation before delivering significant revelations. This slow build immerses players in the game’s eerie atmosphere, enhancing the overall experience.

Lorelei and the Laser Eyes is a standout game in 2024

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Avoiding spoilers, the game’s narrative takes precedence, though it features many puzzles. The challenge of these puzzles, albeit difficult, is justified by the desire to uncover more about the main character and to experience a satisfying payoff.

Lorelei and the Laser Eyes skillfully capture the essence of survival horror, reminiscent of games like Resident Evil. Everything from its inventory system to camera angles from the PlayStation era contributes to the atmosphere. Even innocent encounters throughout feel more ominous than they are, and it helps make this experience more authentic to its influences.

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Simogo’s work, which uses colours so minimally, is excellent. It’s deliberate but filled with style and powers the atmosphere within Hotel Letztes Jahf in the Italian countryside.

Lorelei and the Laser Eyes‘ open, non-restrictive nature is its most compelling aspect and a stroke of genius. It gradually encourages a shift in perspective, prompting you to question assumptions and explore more profound layers of meaning and potential, all in a natural, unobtrusive manner.

Few works achieve this success, and I struggle to think of anything else that even comes close this year. I would actively want to get home and continue playing each day. Lorelei effortlessly captivates your thoughts and emotions, seeping into them without realizing it.

Verdict

Lorelei and the Laser Eyes is another win for Annapurna Interactive. Filled with excellent puzzles, oozing atmospheric dread, and many questions, this is easily one of the best games to launch this year. Simogo continues to showcase its immense talent by constantly delivering incredible experiences and upping the ante with each new game it offers.

Recommended

[The publisher provided a copy of the game for review purposes.]

Reviewed on: Nintendo Switch

Lorelei and the Laser Eyes Nintendo Indie World Showcase
Review: Lorelei and the Laser Eyes
Summary
Lorelei and the Laser Eyes' open, non-restrictive nature is its most compelling aspect and a stroke of genius.
Liked
Stunning visuals
Packed with excellent puzzles
Tons of great story moments
Didn't Like
The lack of guidance can be frustrating
9