A Puzzle Game Like No Other

A Puzzle Game Like No Other

Summary A puzzle box of intertwined narratives and challenging puzzles set in a vacant hotel.

Simplified controls can be frustrating, but contribute to a unique gaming experience.

Striking visuals, unique style, and complex story make Lorelei and the Laser Eyes a must-play.

Lorelei and the Laser Eyes is many things. It's the new title from Simogo and Annapurna Interactive, the developer and publisher behind the neon rhythm action game Sayonara Wild Hearts. It's 1847 and 1963 and 2014. It's the tale of Lorelei and Renzo, and Renate and Lorenzo, and maybe even Lorentz and Resnik. It's a puzzle box of glancing hints and shuffled solutions. It's virtually designed to be hit with accusations of pretension. It can't, at any rate, be accused of sticking to convention.

The story of Lorelei and the Laser Eyes starts in a lot of different places, depending on the angle, but the game starts with a woman outside a car. She can open it, but only after an intertitle informs her that it's locked and an inventory with a car key and tampons pops up to solve the problem. Like everything else in the game, this screen can be navigated with any analog stick or D-pad, and items can be selected with any button. Despite being far more complex than Adventure, Lorelei and the Laser Eyes controls like it's on Atari.

Lorelei and the Laser Eyes 9 / 10 Pros Mind-bending, memorable puzzles

An aesthetic that is gorgeously unique

Engaging, enthralling story content Cons Puzzles can be a little too esoteric, leading to hours-long stops and starts

A Complex Tapestry Of Story And Puzzles

Patchwork Information Is Fun To Piece Together

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The simplified control scheme can take a bit of getting used to, particularly because hitting a button when standing slightly too far from an object opens a menu instead. This menu, referred to as Introspection, becomes both a friend and a source of frustration. Inside it is an ever-growing archive of almost every piece of information that the woman can encounter, and shuffling through these maps, letters, and even software errors is the key to solving many puzzles.

Story elements reveal themselves in a similar fashion, and although it's best to leave the whole thing unspoiled, there's only so much in Lorelei and the Laser Eyes that could truly be spoiled. Every piece of lore paints part of a picture, but it's not all happening on one canvas. Several different narratives overlap and intersect in ways that are frequently illuminating, if never quite right. Although shaping this into some sort of truth is tantalizing, that ultimate goal should never get in the way of appreciating the fragments on their own.

When things are going smoothly, unlocking new corners of Lorelei and the Laser Eyes has an intoxicating rhythm.

Progressing through Lorelei and the Laser Eyes depends on a spiraling journey through a largely vacant hotel, where footsteps echoing in half-shadowed halls prove the most constant companion. The loneliness is only accentuated by the figures on the edges of the story, from a man who offers meaningless aphorisms in place of hints to a magician who won't do anything until the right flower is procured. Some solace can be found in a dog trotting around the courtyard, who responds enthusiastically to petting with a surprising variety of adorable animations.

Interconnected Challenges Make The Game Tick

Puzzles Are Often Simpler Than They Seem


When things are going smoothly, unlocking new corners of Lorelei and the Laser Eyes has an intoxicating rhythm. Although some puzzles are isolated brain-teasers, the main challenge of many is figuring out how they loop into the larger network of information. This bigger picture has the effect of making simple solutions still feel satisfying, and the frequent non-linearity of it all makes for many different configurations of progress.

It's also possible to grind to a painful halt, a pitfall exacerbated by the opportunities for overthinking. Overlooking a wall fixture in a corner room could result in hours spent applying increasingly esoteric and incorrect theories to conundrums found elsewhere, and figuring out the roadblock is more relieving than gratifying. If a puzzle seems especially cryptic, it probably requires information that can't yet be accessed. Knowing when to abandon these efforts proves more essential than any other form of logical dexterity.

Assured Style & A Confident Finish

Lorelei And The Laser Eyes Has Art & Ambition

The visual style of Lorelei and the Laser Eyes offers up both helping hands and hurdles in this pursuit, sprinkling its secrets throughout a black-and-white world carpeted in a quivering collage of textures. Any object that can be interacted with brightens when the woman stands nearby, and splashes of red and neon pink occasionally highlight some key elements. A consistently striking aesthetic never seems content to settle, contorting itself through shattered mazes and dropping its poly count for sequences that highlight its Resident Evil inspiration.

Everything in Lorelei and the Laser Eyes culminates with a puzzle apparatus that can be found early on, and over the course of the game, its initially baffling requirements slowly start to clarify. There's an enormous thrill to be found in assembling the correct solution and seeing it work, a rush that extends through a smart and satisfying final sequence. Lore aficionados might want even more concrete answers than the ones given, but that isn't what the game is about. After all, dangling threads and lingering connections are so much more fascinating.

Final Thoughts & Review Score

4.5/5 - "Must-Play" By Screen Rant's Scoring Metric

To return to the start, there's still a lot to say about what this game is. It's equal parts literary and mathy. It's elusive but self-aware. It's romantic, in fits. It's something best played with pen and paper, even if it doesn't seem necessary for a while. It's a story told as fantasy, history, parable, and performance. It's Lorelei and the Laser Eyes. And it could very well be the best game that comes out this year.

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