Lorelei and the Laser Eyes

Lorelei and the Laser Eyes

released on May 16, 2024

Lorelei and the Laser Eyes

released on May 16, 2024

A woman, summoned by an eccentric man to participate in a project in an old hotel somewhere in central Europe, becomes embroiled in a game of illusions, increasingly dangerous and surreal. Now you are invited to fall into the same rabbit hole, in a non-linear mystery with an immense amount of handcrafted puzzles, constantly presenting you with new riddles to solve, each leading you closer to deciphering the enigma of Lorelei and the Laser Eyes.

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An effortlessly stylish puzzle/adventure game from the developers of Device 6, Year Walk, and Sayonara Wild Hearts. Loved the largely monochromatic aesthetic, the Resident Evil-style fixed camera angles, and the metafictional cross-media fuckery (they don't have Remedy money so there isn't an entire live-action short film you can actually watch or anything like that, but the narrative is very concerned with films, sculptures, music, paintings, art installations, intricate little puzzle boxes, and of course video games).

As for the puzzles, this is definitely one for the Tunic/FEZ/Void Stranger sickos out there who love nothing more than scribbling feverishly into a notebook (or in my case, a Notepad document and MS Paint canvas on my second monitor). I had a ton of fun playing this alongside my brother and racking our collective brains trying to figure out some abstractly presented math problem or which of the many, many documents in our possession held the pivotal clue for solving a puzzle.

Playing through "Lorelei and the Laser Eyes" is an experience I will long to relive. Very few video games have made me feel the way this game did, with Immortality, Echoes of the Eye & the original Ace Attorney trilogy being among them.

"Lorelei and the Laser Eyes" is developed by Simogo, hot off the heels of their previous game "Sayonara Wild Hearts", which could not be any more different in its tone & gameplay.

The story is difficult to discuss without spoilers, but I will say that the mystery had me completely sucked in during the 21 hours it took me to finish it. There are two layers to the story of "Lorelei". Despite the very artsy facade, there is a literal story being told here that does provide satisfying answers to the big questions you will likely have during the game, even going out of its way to spell things out for you during the finale. Beneath that layer, however, is an extremely complicated rumination on technology, art, capitalism, the audience's perspective vs. that of the artist and so forth. Symbols & how meaning is assigned to them is a heavy motif through the game, and are beautifully integrated into the actual puzzle solving.

The gameplay format of "Lorelei" is comparable to the early Resident Evil games, with the game's main location - the Hotel Lethz Jahr - being highly reminiscent of the Spencer Mansion from Resident Evil 1. The key distinction between the two implementations of the Survival Horror format, is that Lorelei strips out the genre's typical combat and resource management, and focuses wholly on puzzles. There are two main categories of puzzles in this game. "Lock-and-key" puzzles ala Resident Evil, where you read a piece of evidence and have to match it with a "lock" somewhere else in the game. The more interesting category is the collection of abstract, logic puzzles where the directive is intuiting the logic of the puzzle itself. These all manifests through all the fake movie posters, weird locks, keypads, printers etc. that all abide by some strange, but intuitive logic. Notably, these puzzles will most likely require you to keep a notepad to track all the information not stored in your "Photographic Memory".

Figuring out the answer to the final puzzle is one of the most satisfying things I have ever done in a video game. The 2nd & 3rd components of the solution in particular, and the path to figuring them out, seems outright bizarre to anyone who hasn't played it, but will make sense to you since the game does such a good job of training you to pick up on subtle patterns.

I really cannot criticise any aspect of the game, aside from some miscommunication on how the red maze works. Yes, the lack of a 'back button' in menus and during puzzles is annoying, but I can't help but respect the developers for fully committing to it, even if I don't fully understand why it was made.

Lorelei & the Laser Eyes is easily my GOTY for 2024, and I would be seriously impressed if anything, even my beloved Silksong, manages to eclipse it. It's already been to my list of favourites.

STRONG recommend to any puzzle game lovers.

"I can't see shit."

I have a few quibbles (why aren't the uncrossed-out mental notes at the top of the list), but I very much enjoyed finding my way to the center of Lorelei, despite not being a puzzle kind of girl. I half-filled my FF7 Rebirth Original Soundtrack Stamp notebook with unintelligible notes, and what more can I say than that.

Didnt really know anything about this game going in other than 1) its published by annapurna and 2) its a game involving puzzles and patterns and ciphers and mysteries, aka a game for me. I did not expect to be as into this game as I was.
This is a really effective puzzle game, once you get going it completely ensnares you in its gameplay loop. There keep being new crumb trails to follow both in the puzzles you solve and the mystery you unravel. You probably need to take some notes while playing this which is a plus in my book.
The central mystery is incredibly intriguing (if pretentious, but i forgive it), and much of my gameplay time was spent reading and re-reading notes i found to try and piece together some tangible narrative, but it was not until the end that (most of) the full picture became clear (which I didnt mind, and honestly at that point i wouldve been happy NOT to get explicit answers from the game)
Obviously the one big flaw that many people have already talked about is the bizarre control scheme, especially when the player has no option to set custom controls. This is a weird choice and causes some frustration and confusion, but i personally didnt find it that detrimental to my enjoyment (plus i really truly got used to it. still a bad design choice, but tolerable)

good game but ended up being a mixed bag. the puzzles are very creative and satisfying but some turn repetitive. the narrative felt non present for a long stretch of the early game which is a shame bc the writing and presentation of the story is strong and it lets you puzzle the narrative together, however the ending knocks over a lot of that. its a commonly hated trope so i assume other ppl will likely feel the same. theres a lot of subtext here tho so maybe im missing sth.
lastly the controls are awfully inconvenient, especially for menuing which is a big part of the game. theres a stylistic reason for this but its just such a nuisance.
i sound overly negative here but the puzzles can be very good, i was just expecting more out of the story.

initially i buried the lede, but i'm angry enough that i won't: this is a story david cage would write wrapped in a game good enough that he would hate every second of it.

lorelei and the laser eyes is a flawless dollhouse construction of beautiful puzzleboxes. the art and design is excellent and when it pulls a gimmick it pulls it excellently. it pushes, dramatically, towards one-upping the mechanical center of outer wilds' climax (with several more moving parts, each with a highlights mathmania's worth of fun little tricks to solve).

the problem is that the game also wants to one up the emotional climax of outer wilds, and it doesn't know what the fuck a human being is. the best it can offer you is a mannequin, with a mannequin of that same mannequin off to the side, in the corner, winking solemnly. it is a sad joke, an attempt at a gut punch so limp that it made me the angriest i've been at a video game all year. it is rare that i am this impressed by a video game i feel for a moment i might actually hate.

the worst part is that i know these motherfuckers can do the work. there is good writing in many inches of the margins here, and, besides, they've made one bonafide goddamn video game narrative masterpiece (device 6, a much better game than this overall) so it's all the more disappointing.

at least the end credits song is basically another sayonara wild hearts track.

probably the most angry i've been at a video game in years. hell, even twelve minutes was funny to think about.