Life Eater

Posted:  May 13, 2024
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Life Eater was provided by Strange Scaffold for review. Thank you!

Whenever I play a video game, I usually assume we are playing as the protagonist or the hero. 99% of the time, we are mostly trying to save the world or our friends and stop an evil entity from committing heinous crimes. Well, Life Eater takes an opposite approach, and ends up being so much more unique for it. It's odd what developer Strange Scaffold has prioritized, and at times, I am surprised a game like this actually exists, but here we are, and it's quite enjoyable to play.

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As I mentioned, you are not the hero here. You are a person who is forced to follow a god named Zimforth and ritualistically murder people every year to stop them from destroying the world. Throughout the game, you will constantly have to study and abduct people while learning a bit more about the situation through some static image cutscenes and constantly trying to figure out whether all of this is real or if this is all in your head. Strange Scaffold writes amazing stories, and Life Eater further proves that. Some of my favorite moments of the game were in between stalking people and just seeing how you and your relationship with Johnny, a man you kidnapped who wasn't supposed to be killed, unfolds and affects the killer's life.

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It's quite amazing seeing how well Life Eater develops its atmosphere, too. The gloomy cutscenes, the relationship between the killer and Johnny, and even the way you will figure out the daily life of your victims all give off this lonely and dreary vibe that you can never quite shake. The fact that the atmosphere is still like this even though you never speak to your victims and just learned about them from behind a "computer screen" shows just how well the visual style, sound, and overarching context work together.

Gameplay-wise, Life Eater is essentially a puzzle game. On each level or "year," you will be given different possible victims to stalking and a prompt telling you which kind of person Zimforth wants to be killed. Usually, these prompts will ask us to find people who are alone, don't contribute to society, are on the verge of death, etc. Then, we will map out each person's daily routine over the course of a week to figure out who fits the bill, as well as learn about the person. This ultimately ends in choosing a victim and then performing the "Water the Flower" ritual, where we will take out organs or break specific bones based on the person's life. If you chose the right target and performed the ritual correctly, we get to move on to the next year.

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Overall, the gameplay loop is enjoyable, even if it feels like it could have had more depth. I like that you have to really dig deep and figure out information about each person using their weekly routines, while the aesthetic of it all being on a sort of video editing software timeline is cool and adds to the creepiness factor. Each action takes up a certain amount of time, too, and increases your detected bar, so each action you choose has consequences. I would have loved to see different unique ways to discover more about each person and maybe some changes to the loop so it isn't the same stalking and ritual at every level, but it didn't hinder my enjoyment.

Luckily, for the most part, it would be a great fit on the Steam Deck, though it has some minor issues here and there.

Life Eater - Steam Deck Performance

Life Eater runs wonderfully on the Steam Deck, even though it does drain a bit more battery than I expected. At 90 FPS, it will sit around 15W drain, while 60 FPS will go to around 11W with a TDP limit of 7. But either way, it is playable and quite nice, but there are some issues I have with the controls. We can drop the framerate to 45 FPS and get around 9W battery drain, but there are parts that don't feel nearly as smooth, so I preferred sticking to 60.

The game does have gamepad/controller support, and for the most part, it works, but there are a couple of nuisances to get used to. After choosing a slot to investigate what your possible victim is doing, it won't remember where you just were. So, if you select an option and investigate, it will then change what you were last selecting, so you have to scroll back to it. Using the Dpad to move around when selecting which organs or bones to remove in the Water the Flower ritual is also a bit of a nuisance, especially when scrolling through all the ribs. Neither of these is game-breaking, but going back and forth so constantly can be quite annoying.


There really aren't many settings in Life Eater. You can change the volume and turn off the static animations, but that's about it.

The game supports 16:10 resolutions and controllers/gamepads (with some minor issues). It doesn't have any HDR settings or cloud saves.


Life Eater is a strange game that feels wholly unique compared to every other game. I love the fact that you take on the killer/antagonist instead of the protagonist and dive deeper into why someone would be doing this. It's a really compelling tale that has me captivated as I learn more and more about who we are and why we murder. The gameplay can feel a bit limited at times, and the loop is relatively the same throughout the game, but it's a lot of fun being a detective and trying to figure out if a person lives alone or commutes to work so we can dissect them correctly. It does have some controller issues and drains more battery than I expected, but I loved playing it on the Steam Deck overall! It's a weird game, that's for sure, but a worthwhile one to experience in the end.

Our review is based on the PC version of this game.

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SDHQ's Build Score Breakdown

Life Eater is an extremely unique game that succeeds in a lot of ways. And it's great on the Steam Deck, in most ways.


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Noah Kupetsky
A lover of gaming since 4, Noah has grown up with a love and passion for the industry. From there, he started to travel a lot and develop a joy for handheld and PC gaming. When the Steam Deck released, it just all clicked.
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