Lorelei and the Laser Eyes – Review of Lorelei and the Laser Eyes – She has the look that kills

Published by Annapurna Interactive, Lorelei and the Laser Eyes is the new game developed by Simogo, the team behind Sayonara Wild Hearts. Prepare your best notepad for a game that intends to put your thinking skills to the test.

A great mystery

The first few minutes set the tone for what will be Lorelei and the Laser Eyes : a mysterious game determined to tell you as little as possible. We therefore play a young woman whose most striking feature is undoubtedly the large pair of black glasses that she never takes off. We have no idea who he is or why we are here. In our handbag, we discover keys that open the doors of the nearby car. A letter found in the glove box tells us that an appointment has been made for us at a nearby hotel. It seems closed and we will need our intelligence and our sense of observation to uncover the secrets hidden behind the doors of this strange place.

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Here it all begins

Here it all begins

Open the doors of your memory

Behind its very particular visual style and its strange atmosphere, Lorelei and the Laser Eyes is above all a puzzle game. Once you have gotten past the introduction to the first puzzles, the whole concept of the game is to discover how to access the different areas of the hotel. Indeed, the hotel is full of closed doors that we must open. Some require keys, but most are simply closed with padlocks and you have to find the combination. And rare are the codes written down on a piece of paper just a stone's throw away. The game really asks you to think, to understand the way the owner thinks and to combine the clues you discover to deduce the solution. The elements of the decor, the books that you can read and of course the documents that we discover here and there can be clues, more or less subtle, which will allow us to move forward. So each opened door not only adds new mysteries and puzzles to the game, it can also be the key to understanding other puzzles located elsewhere in the hotel. You should therefore not expect to be able to solve everything straight away, and you can unlock new areas without immediately having the means to progress there.

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There are lots of buttons on a pad you know!

Although having a notepad on hand during your Lorelei gaming sessions is a good idea, the game still records a lot of your discoveries and allows you to access them at any time. At the cost of insanely heavy handling, and this is the first big criticism I'm going to make of the game. Your character moves in a 3D world with fixed cameras. As soon as you approach an object with which you can interact, it reacts to the interaction buttons. If nothing is in range, pressing an interact button opens an introspection menu. It is basically a character sheet bringing together various information such as your progress in the game, the level of stress of the character, his coffee consumption (drinking coffee allows you to run), etc. More interesting, it is also through this means that we access a history of your actions. What you have done, what remains to be done but also the documents you have read, everything is listed there.

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The problem is that the game considers all the buttons as interaction buttons. Rather than having only one to validate and one to cancel, all buttons validate the actions. Moving through the menus is therefore painful since you have to systematically return to the small cross at the top of the screen to return to the previous screen. Believe me, the years of video games that have conditioned you to press B to exit a menu will make you hate this game. Worse, the absence of a button dedicated to canceling an action means that It is impossible to get out of a riddle without offering an answer, even a false one. As a bonus, since the same button is used to access our introspection menu and to interact with the environment, it is impossible to do both at the same time, making certain puzzles even heavier.

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Wanderings

If the choice to leave the player to his own devices is defensible, we must agree that it is a double-edged decision. In fact, I regularly found myself wandering the corridors of the hotel, without knowing where to go or what to do to get out of the jam. Especially since certain unlockings seem linked to actions that are not always easy to guess. Let's go back to the beginning of the game to illustrate. So I had just entered the hotel lobby. Near the reception there is a door from which the sounds of a conversation escape. As I approach, I can listen to the discussion, but nothing more. I will have to go around the hotel, almost for nothing since I still had no way of opening the closed doors that I discovered, before returning to the hall so that the owner of the house could finally deign to show himself. and give me access to the rest.

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We encounter these kinds of situations several times during the game. I am thinking in particular of another passage where we begin to come across, always randomly, strange men wishing to question us. Answering their questions incorrectly causes a rushed end to the game. And that's problematic, because the game has a very specific save system. You can only save your progress on computers located here and there in the hotel. As your interrogators appear near you as soon as you enter a room, unexpectedly, and you happen to make a mistake (the questions are based on observation), you will regularly have a good risk of losing all your progress. since your last save. Still passes for an action game, but the principle seems more questionable to me in a puzzle game. Second Kiss-uncool effect, this loss also forces you to repeat the actions that caused the appearance of your interrogator…without you really knowing which one or two are responsible. I admit that I quickly got tired of the exercise.

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In red and black…

As is often the case with Annapurna Interactive, the game has a very pronounced visual identity. The graphics therefore use palettes of black and shades of gray including a few touches of red to attract the player's attention. The whole thing also seems to be disturbed by small visual glitches which further reinforce the feeling of unreality of the places. Anxious atmosphere guaranteed. As I mentioned earlier, the game uses fixed cameras for its movements. This allows it to highlight certain specific elements while giving the player an overview of the areas they are visiting. But it also has a perverse effect by sometimes making certain “sub-zones” difficult to access. I am thinking in particular of a portion of the backyard where there is an important element for progression. Finally, let us point out that the game is available in French.

So, what’s Lorelei and the Laser Eyes worth?

All of this leads me to a very mixed conclusion about Lorelei and the Laser Eyes. During the first hours, we manage to overcome the purely ergonomic problems of the game and have fun. Then, we start to go in circles and regret the lack of a common thread to which we could cling. And it's a shame, because its atmosphere and aesthetics work very well, but it wasn't enough to convince me to move past the feeling of weariness that set in after a few hours of aimlessly wandering the corridors. of the hotel.

Test carried out by Grim on PC using a copy provided by the publisher

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