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LOVECRAFT’S UNTOLD STORIES ****
Developed by Bilini Games. Action, PEGI 18
Released in UK on PS4/Xbox One/PC/Switch by BadLand on 10th May 2019, RRP £11.99.
Everywhere you turn over the last year it feels like there’s a Lovecraft videogame in development, or gearing up to hit consoles sometime in the next few months. First there was the lacklustre Call of Cthulu, and arriving soon is the rather juicy looking The Sinking City, which, from the looks of it, could be one of the best adaptations of the writer’s work in eons; but first up is this: Lovecraft’s Untold Stories.
Unlike the aforementioned titles this one is quite unique in that it’s not a Triple A big budget affair, but rather a lo-fi mash-up of Lovecraft fables; a greatest hits of sorts. The game puts you in the shoes of a grizzled detective at the outset (there are other characters to choose from later in the game that change up the playing experience once unlocked). The goal at the outset is simple, grab your shotgun and explore a spooky mansion in search of your missing friend.
Once you do, the game picks up the pace and you hurtle through a series of Lovecraft inspired locations to find out more about the ancient gods that are fast approaching our world with one thing in mind – wanton destruction. The retro look works, and works quite well. The script is also tightly written, and while you will find yourself blasting monsters, the game really pushes you to gather information and acquire the knowledge to solve puzzles and learn more about the horrors of the world Lovecraft created.
And like all good Lovecraftian stories, sanity plays a major role here. The deeper you dive into the spookiness, the more it messes with your mind, so in order to stop yourself from going nuts you’ll need to counteract the darkness by finding items, such as a Hummingbird, to yank you back from the brink of the abyss in the nick of time. It’s a nifty mechanic that helps maintain a sense of dread at all times as you explore creepy abandoned hospitals, Innsmouth and eventually encounter the terrifyingly massive penguins from the classic At The Mountains Of Madness.
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