I’m in denial that it’s been eight years since P.T. dropped on the PlayStation Store and blew our collective minds. While the playable teaser was delisted and Silent Hills has been lost to history, its influence is still felt today. Currently in development at Spanish Studio Broken Bird Games, Luto is a first-person psychological horror title that shares a similar energy with P.T., while exploring more grounded themes of loss and abandonment.
A short, standalone demo (previously available on Steam) has launched on PS5 today, offering up a spooky snippet of what’s to come from the game’s full release in 2024. Titled Choices, the roughly 40-minute slice of gameplay is a separate experience, not unlike the wildly effective demo for Resident Evil VII. We were given early access to the Choices demo, and I can confidently say that it did exactly what a demo should, because I was left wanting more.
Opening on a relatively normal, if not dusty, suburban home, Luto will instantly look and feel familiar to anyone who has played P.T.-inspired games like Visage in the past few years. Your slow, weighty footsteps cut through ambient sounds of clocks and wind streaming in through cracked windows as you pick up a limited number of objects, turning and inspecting them with curiosity. The home phone rings after a short time, which we all know is a sign of impending doom.
Answering the ancient device transforms the regular interior into a dark, menacing structure that feels less like a house and more like a malevolent maze wearing a house disguise. The ground is littered with half-packed boxes and VHS tapes, chains hanging from the ceiling in every direction, and a disproportionate number of locked doors lining the walls.
The haunted house is a well-worn setting nowadays, and Luto’s impossible architecture, complete with far too many stairs and long corridors, leans into it heavily. The atmosphere is palpable, largely thanks to great lighting and eerie sound design that will have you questioning every creak. A child’s room, decorated floor to ceiling with ‘cute’ hand-drawn pictures is at the centre of the demo. A fairly disturbing story is told through various illustrations, with several of them missing, and it’s up to you to brave the dark to find them.
A general sense of unease is felt as you wander around the dimly lit house, with tension building and building, despite the clear lack of physical threats appearing. Outside of the odd moment where an automatic room spray will go off as you walk past it – which scared me silly – the demo prioritises unnerving tension over cheap scares. I won’t say that it’s devoid of hair-raising moments entirely, but it’s best you don’t know when to expect those.
You’ll encounter a handful of puzzles throughout the short runtime, which mainly consist of memorising codes or deciphering clues given to you through an old VHS. While reasonably simple, their inclusion is welcome, giving Luto just enough depth to avoid being a straight walking sim.
There isn’t much more to say about Luto just yet, and, if anything, that makes me all the more curious. The Choices demo sets an excellent tone and provides just enough context to capture my interest. If this standalone experience ends up being a faithful representation of what’s to come for Luto’s full release, then we have a potential horror hit on our hands.