Lorelei and the Laser Eyes is a classy, cinematic puzzle box that preys on my fear of maths

April 23, 2024
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The pre-release marketing for Lorelei and the Laser Eyes has suggested a particularly abstract experience. Strange trailers tease “unconventional concepts”, “patterns, patterns, patterns”, and “puzzles, puzzles, puzzles”, hinting at an otherworldly concept and “maze of deceptions” all in eerie black and white. This was all intentional game director Simon Flesser told me last year. “We want to make viewers wonder, and think.”

After some hands-on time, though, Lorelei and the Laser Eyes is actually a more straightforward game than Simogo would have you believe, at least initially. The developer’s previous mobile games Year Walk and Device 6 featureed grim visuals and self-contained mysteries where the very games themselves were puzzles to unravel. In retrospect, Scandi dream-pop rhythm game Sayonara Wild Hearts stands out in the studio’s oeuvre as a colourful sugar rush, but it’s no less thought-provoking in its combination of video game and utterly brilliant playable music album.

So how does Lorelei compare? Its premise is actually rather simple to explain. Playing as a young woman known only as Signorina, you must explore a maze-like hotel filled with bite-sized puzzles. She’s been lured here by an artist called Renzo Nero to view his “magnum opus”, though it soon becomes apparent Nero may not be referring to a singular piece of art but perhaps the hotel itself. It’s almost like Luigi’s Mansion, though I presume Nero won’t turn out to be King Boo in disguise.

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