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Lorelei And The Laser Eyes Review

I see red, I see red, I see red

Many moons ago, long before my time here at WellPlayed, I reviewed an iOS game called Year Walk. I remember being suitably impressed by its haunting tale and cleverly textured puzzles, which at the time was a departure from Swedish studio Simogo’s previous work. Granted, the team has a habit of jumping back and forth between colourful adventures and darker, brooding escapades. Just look to their last title, the wonderfully produced Sayonara Wild Hearts as a perfect example of how creatively unique the studio can be between takes. So perhaps it’s no surprise that we’ve come back full circle, to a brooding tale of shadows and murder, brimming with the fingerprints of Simogo’s inventive past.

Lorelei and the Laser Eyes places you in the shoes of Lorelei, cordially invited (kind of) to a mansion in the middle of nowhere to partake in a series of absurd and brain-taxing enigmas. The reason why isn’t clear from the outset, a fragmented environment of locked doors greets you, until the web of intrigue slowly begins to unravel with each puzzle you solve. It’s like if the original Resident Evil were cast under the lens of a monochromatic camera, fixed camera angles and surreal imagery, with splashes of red neon quietly hinting towards your next potential clue.

My initial assessment of Lorelei’s predicament was one of sheer confusion. I had no idea where I was going or what I was doing, but I sure as heck knew I was enthralled. There’s that constant threat that not all is as it seems, with every puzzle you can’t figure out throwing you further into the deep end. Though the first handful of puzzles you come across are easy enough to understand, trickles of red paint circling words and numbers of importance, gradually you come to understand how challenging the experience can become. You’re going to need to take notes, keep a calculator handy, and open your mind to the possibilities, and despite situations that left me stumped for minutes at a time, I was all for it.

We hope you enjoy your stay

The experience of playing Lorelei and the Laser Eyes corresponds with your enjoyment of solving its complexity. You will be left scratching your head regularly, running around rooms you’ve trawled through more than once, until the next key moment clicks. The solutions may seem challenging, but all the clues are there in black and white (literally), you just have to dig deep enough to link everything back together. You’ll have a few tools at your disposal, an in-game handheld console (a Game Boy of sorts) includes a handy calculator and Lorelei herself recalls everything she comes across, be they notes or puzzle solutions. The menus could have used a slight tweak to reduce the annoyance of flipping back and forth across everything you uncover, though that sense of convolution serves the plot more than you think.

On occasion I had an inkling as to what to do next but had no clue if I was headed in the right direction, only for my gut to be bang on the money. One early example comes in uncovering the in-game map, which you can find hidden behind locked poster tubes. The codes can only be solved by figuring out a handful of math equations, which gave me awkward High School flashbacks. Number crunching isn’t exactly my strong suit, but there’s a unique sense of accomplishment with every solution you uncover. The fact that I did felt pretty good. Such is Lorelei’s clever design, complexity undercut by the pure joy of simple logic. Yes, there’s every chance many players will be left scrambling for a walkthrough, but for once I’m happy to recommend avoiding such a strategy. There’s no better place to solve, no better combination of puzzles to master, than Lorelei’s mansion, and going in blind is the purest way to experience it.

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The unsettling narrative keeps things flowing despite the occasional pause for mathematics, slowly increasing the stakes and throwing one wild situation at you after another. The dark, monochrome tone exemplifies the discomfort, early PlayStation-era graphics undercut by a hint of modern red game design. You’ll feel at home if The Room was your thing, Sayonara’s wire-frame inspired visual panache finding a new home with deep reds and deliberately flat textures. It’s surreal in the best of ways, undercut by the constant shadow of a mansion splashed across the walls and pillars. Unlike Sayonara, there’s very little music or audio cues to speak of. That’s a deliberate ploy, allowing those that do appear to cut through the eerie silence that follows you around.

The hints of red become more obvious further in

I won’t go into any detail as to what the laser eyes represent, nor the mystery surrounding the mansion itself, safe to say the more time you spend here the more enthralled you’ll become. There’s no linear path, so there’s every chance you can become lost within the walls, but I never truly found myself stumped as to where to go next. Yes, there’s some backtracking to undertake, that’s a given considering its non-linear design, but if you think of it in the same vein as Metroid, where every new discovery has the potential of opening up different locations across the many levels of the mansion, it’s hardly as befuddling as it may seem.

Final Thoughts

Lorelei and the Laser Eyes is hard to put down; I was always desperate to open another locked door and find the next clue. Even in the moments where I found myself staring at a math problem for minutes on end, knowing where the solution could lead, I was compelled to push forward. When you’re not pondering what the flub it all means, Lorelei’s increasingly creepy undertones and visual panache mesmerise, the next twist flooring you before a new mechanic throws you under the bus with glee. It’s everything Simogo is known for, every lesson and concept played with over years of game development married together in absurd harmony, and I loved every minute of it.

Reviewed on Switch // Review code supplied by publisher

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Lorelei And The Laser Eyes Review
Hypnotised by laser eyes
David Lynch would be proud of Lorelei and the Laser Eyes. It’s wild, clever and compelling in the best of ways, absurd in its visual style and challenging in its puzzles. Do not let this one pass you by.
The Good
Absurd, clever and creative in equal measures
Wonderful puzzle solving mechanics
Beautifully realised visuals
A joy to master
The Bad
Some may find it a little too complex
Menu navigation could use some tweaking
9.5
Bloody Ripper
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  • Simogo
  • Annapurna Interactive
  • Switch / PC
  • May 16, 2024

Lorelei And The Laser Eyes Review
Hypnotised by laser eyes
David Lynch would be proud of Lorelei and the Laser Eyes. It’s wild, clever and compelling in the best of ways, absurd in its visual style and challenging in its puzzles. Do not let this one pass you by.
The Good
Absurd, clever and creative in equal measures
Wonderful puzzle solving mechanics
Beautifully realised visuals
A joy to master
The Bad
Some may find it a little too complex
Menu navigation could use some tweaking
9.5
Bloody Ripper
Written By Mark Isaacson

Known on the internet as Kartanym, Mark has been in and out of the gaming scene since what feels like forever, growing up on Nintendo and evolving through the advent of PC first person shooters, PlayStation and virtual reality. He'll try anything at least once and considers himself the one true king of Tetris by politely ignoring the world records.

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