Title: Lust from Beyond
Developer: Movie Games Lunarium
Release Date: March 11, 2021
Reviewed On: PC
Publisher: Movie Games S.A., PlayWay S.A.
Genre: Adventure Horror
After playing an early preview of Lust from Beyond, I was excited to experience the full game’s release just to complete the journey I started. The game blends in erotica with a psychological horror that provokes a unique dread the more you play. Anything that would usually be fan service in other games is instead eerily twisted into something grotesque.
Lust from Beyond has you playing as Victor Halloway, a man plagued by dreams of a twisted world where he is being hunted. These Nightmares lead him to the town of Bleakmoor after a vision leaves him so scared he hurts someone close to him. It’s suggested he seeks mental help from a doctor that has an experimental technique to change a person completely.
Upon entering the small town, the streets are empty in preparation for a special festival. During his time in Bleakmoor, Victor will be led down a path of lust, death, and horror where everything he knew about himself is turned inside out
While there are themes of sex, players can censor nudity. This works for someone trying to stream, I’m sure, but it throws off the atmosphere when you are exploring and suddenly see a pixelated mess. In a perfect world, the option would have altered the scenes further so that it wouldn’t ruin the atmosphere.
Exploration mostly occurs in Bleakmoor and the surrounding area where you are sent to the Land of Eternal Ecstasy Lusst’ghaa. Lust’ghaa is a world that was twisted by desire, and that desire shapes everything. While the narrative takes inspiration from H. P Lovecraft, the design of Lusst’ghaa was clearly inspired by H. R. Giger and Zdzislaw Beksinski.
You can see this in the halls that provoke this feeling of exploring a world that is alive all around you. The walls seem to slightly heave as you walk through them. The best way to explain this is that it’s as if you stepped into another being altogether, and it wants you dead.
It’s possible to easily interact with the world with the press of a button. This transitions to an inspection mode that allows you to rotate the item and inspect it. If it’s something that you can take, you can add it to your inventory.
I enjoyed this inspect feature, but I wish they would do more with it as far as gameplay goes. Frequently I found myself rotating an item just in case I was missing something that could be an important clue for a puzzle. However, outside of lore stones that force you to rotate the object to a certain point, the inspection mode is used for nothing else. Instead, it is just an intermediary between the player and adding an object to your inventory or reading a note. This also means that you can only ever pick up important items for puzzles, so you end up picking up everything that you can before you even know what the puzzle is.
When it comes to the puzzles themselves, everything is streamlined here, where you explore the area, find notes that essentially tell you the solution, and then find the puzzle object. The puzzles feel more like an excuse to force you through an area rather than an integral part of the game itself.
This is one of the major issues I have with the game, especially when there are some really good designs near the end. These later puzzles only give you a portion of the solution, and you need to figure it out based on the clues you already have. I appreciated this because it actually made me think about what the game could have been if this had been included throughout the entire experience.
There’s a late-game mechanic know as “essence,” which acts like magic in the world of Lusst’ghaa. While it can’t be used for fighting, it is used to create paths across pits and light beacons to lead a creature away from where you’re trying to go. However, these are the only functions of the essence, and it comes so late that it isn’t around to make a difference.
Ultimately, the mechanic feels tacked on, especially with the mini-game that you need to do to that requires it. It’s just a timing QTE, basically where you need to click your mouse in the area as an arrow rotates towards it. However, it’s so easy that it would have been better to instantly have you do the action rather than make you do the mini-game.
Puzzles and exploring isn’t the only thing the world of Lusst’ghaa and Bleakmoor have in store for you. While exploring, some enemies stalk you both in the normal world and the other world. Right away, the game lets you know that combat should be a last resort, and this is true at the beginning, where running and hiding is the best thing you can do to survive.
In fact, running is so strong that you can actually just run past most enemies, and they can’t hurt you. I found myself frequently just darting past enemies rather than sneaking past them. Even when you get your first weapon running away is still the best thing you can do until you finally get the pistol.
The pistol is the strongest weapon in the game, and even with limited ammo, most of the tension is removed. While enemies will still sneak up on you, it’s of little consequence as you can just run away then turn around and shoot them. This feels more like a shooting gallery as you just explore to find the item that you need to proceed with.
One surprising inclusion that I never expected is boss encounters. While there aren’t very many, the few here are actually engaging and closer to a puzzle rather than a traditional fight. My favorite is the first one, where if you explore, you’ll obtain clues on how to defeat him before you even know what you’re up against.
However, the final boss is the weakest in terms of combat and really highlights the issues with combat. It’s definitely the strongest boss design-wise, but it’s just a typical fight. You make sure you don’t get hit while doing enough damage. However, with the pistol and running away, you never have any fear of actually being hurt. I personally found this very disappointing as the atmosphere is ruined to have this very average boss fight.
Despite its flaws, Lust from Beyond is an inspired adventure horror game that utilizes its atmosphere to deliver a unique experience. The world itself is compelling, and the horror is great up until the conclusion. For the price of admission, I would say that this is still worth your time as long as you enjoy the journey more than the destination.
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