Lust from Beyond is a dark and grotesque world inspired by H.P Lovecraft, H. R. Giger, and Zdzislaw Beksinski. It proves that you can mix sexuality and horror in a way that feels unique and not at all pandering to the viewer. This experience had me on the edge of my seat the entire time I was playing and curious to see what this world had in store for me next. It’s the mixture of curiosity and fear that really makes this stand out from other horror games.
As the name suggests, it does need to be said that the game does explore lust and how that plays into the human psyche. Naturally, there will be content of a sexual nature; however, I found it to be less gratuitous and instead more disturbing. This is found in the monster designs that all have this theme of sexuality about them. One of these monsters has a split open belly with arms coming out of it meant to symbolize pregnancy but in a horrible and twisted fashion.
Lust from Beyond has you explore between two worlds, the real world and the horror landscape that is Lusst’ghaa, a world of warped sexual desires. Lusst’ghaa is made up of mostly biomechanical walls and hallways, all seeming to pulsate with some unknown life. The Giger influence is seen the most here where it feels like you are crawling through an alien nest.
Having two separate environments to explore reminds me of the Silent Hill franchise when you would step into the other world and needed to switch back and forth to progress. However, in Lust from Beyond, they are treated as escape sections that you have to explore to return to the real world.
This leads me to the puzzles, which are a staple for any horror game to include. Most of the puzzles simply involve finding the correct item to place in a slot. This is pretty disappointing, especially when, most of the time, the item needed is usually ten feet away from the device. While this is supposed to give incentive to exploration, it instead makes it feel like all you need to do is search around and the puzzle will either solve itself or give you the solution for it.
Another small gripe I have is that there are a lot of interactable doors and drawers. However, so many of them are useless, and it bogs down exploration that much more. Especially when, most of the time, the item you are looking for is just above an interactable drawer. This makes all of the drawers be something that is more of a hindrance, and I’m sure you’ll soon stop checking them as I did after a while.
Facial animations in Lust from Beyond are a mixed bag since most of the characters will have a mask on them and look fine. However, seeing a character without a mask reveals a stiff and uncanny facial expression. It wasn’t enough to limit any immersion, but it did make me think that the masks were a design choice to hide this flaw.
Outside of that, Lust from Beyond features two mechanics that I enjoyed, the sanity meter and power-ups. While the game requires you to employ stealth and avoid combat as much as possible, it does allow you to start powering up your character. You could either make him faster, live longer, or keep a hold of his sanity better. This all helps you explore the world more in some form.
The sanity meter, once exhausted, will leave your character hearing and seeing hallucinations. This happens at random, and at one point, my controls reversed on me, which made it difficult to press on. Another such effect was seeing spiders crawling slowly up and down the walls but always seeming to disappear. These are such minor effects, but it helps to build up the atmosphere.
While Lust from Beyond has its shortcomings, I was excited by what I have played of the game. It’s currently preparing for launch, so I don’t expect my issues with the gameplay to be removed entirely, but luckily the positives far outweigh the negatives.
Lust from Beyond release on PC-via Steam on March 12.
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