Lorelei and the Laser Eyes

Posted:  May 15, 2024
SDHQ BUILD SCORE: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarNo Star
SDHQ CONTENT SCORE: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarHalf Star
Cloud Saves

Review

Lorelei and the Laser Eyes was provided by Annapurna Interactive for review. Thank you!

Generally, in-depth puzzle games are not my forte. It isn't that I don't enjoy them, but there are times when information can go over my head, and I miss key pieces of info that I need to open doors. Lorelei and the Laser Eyes is one of these games, but it seemed so interesting that I felt compelled to check it out. And I am glad I did. Lorelei is a compelling, gorgeous, and well-thought-out experience that requires intuitive thinking to figure out the mysteries surrounding this hotel.

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Lorelei is a nonlinear puzzle game that doesn't hide this fact. The entire game consists of you walking around a hotel, finding clues, and solving puzzles, all to discover the secrets behind the man who invited you there. While this may sound like there isn't much going on, it's the opposite. The puzzles are so varied and unique, requiring you to dig deeper into clues you find to figure out what you can use. Documents you find will be referenced, and hints will be scattered throughout the environment, all to feed you the clues you need.

There are games where I have felt extremely satisfied when figuring out riddles and periodically completing objectives, but Lorelei is on another level. Each of the many handcrafted puzzles requires thinking outside the box, which made me feel so much more confident when completing them. I wouldn't say the puzzles are extremely hard, but they aren't easy. It strikes a nice balance. Those who love puzzles will take some time to figure out what a random keypad with no pictures on it or why a movie poster is sectioned into four squares, while the ones that don't enjoy puzzles may still need some help, but it's still a lot of fun to investigate. It would be nice to have a hint system for those who need some extra guidance, but the ability to figure things out yourself without a set path is extremely enticing.

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The story of Lorelei thrives off of the cryptic nature of the game, with clues you uncover sprinkled throughout. You are invited to a hotel by an elusive stranger to take part in his newest project. Once there, you encounter puzzles upon puzzles with your goal to uncover the mystery that lies behind the project. Without revealing too much, the story isn't hand-fed to you. Like the bulk of the game, you will need to think intuitively and question everything said to you, looking into each word with a possible deeper meaning.

It also starts to go into the mystical at times and fits right into the entire narrative. I loved digging into the conversations and clues and working out conclusions to put the pieces of the mystery together. It made it feel much more rewarding as I progressed. It is even better when complemented with the incredible visual style. Utilizing black and white with some reds/pinks here and there highlights some of the more drastic elements of the game while giving it an overall atmosphere of dread and mystery.

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It can sometimes be a bit brutal, but it's very enjoyable. The controls are a bit wonky with a gamepad (details on those below), and I wish there was some auto-save or continue system if you hit game over. I lost a ton of progress when I got a game over because I forgot to save, which gave me the same dread that the game's atmosphere brings out. But I was roped right back in once I got back into the groove.

Most importantly, Lorelei and the Laser Eyes are flawless on the Steam Deck.

Lorelei and the Laser Eyes - Steam Deck Performance

Lorelei and the Laser Eyes is a fantastic game on the Steam Deck regarding performance. It runs exceptionally well, sticking to around 90 FPS with a 9W - 11W battery drain. It's awesome seeing this work so well, and I am sure it's because it isn't super intensive graphically, focusing more on a stylized approach over a very detailed one. The biggest issue I have is the controls.

Lorelei feels a bit awkward to control due to the gamepad bindings. When walking around, you can interact with objects by pressing A or B or the triggers, which feels weird, but when interacting with locks and moving puzzle pieces around, there's no way to back out of it unless you try completing the puzzle first. For numerical locks, you can only move the numbers one way, so instead of going backward from 0 to 9, you have to go through all 1-8 before getting to it. It isn't the end of the world, but I did find it annoying to press the A button 8 times when I could have just scrolled backward once.

As for the menus, it can be equally confusing. The B button acts as a confirm button, so the only way to back out of the menu or inspect items is by moving to the "X" and confirming that. This gets old fast for a game where going into your inventory and inspecting documents is essential. I was annoyed at constantly having to do this, and many times, I kept forgetting that the B button doesn't back out and got stuck in a loop of opening and closing the items to inspect.

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I also got a note from Annapurna that there may be some rendering issues, and they recommend using Proton 7 when playing on the Steam Deck. I went back and forth with Proton 9.0-1 and didn't notice any differences, and they didn't provide more context other than the "rendering issues," but if you want to be 100% sure, I would recommend playing on Proton 7.0-6. There are no performance differences between the two layers.

Accessibility

There aren't many settings here that can be changed. You can change language and turn on and off vibrations and audio captions, but that's about it. I did notice some slightly small images that I had to get closer to my screen to see, but overall, it was very legible.

The game doesn't support 16:10 resolutions, so there are black bars, but there is gamepad/controller and cloud save support. There are no HDR settings. And yes, you can pet the dog in this game!

Conclusion

I may not be a puzzle aficionado, but it's hard to deny how amazing Lorelei and the Laser Eyes is. Each puzzle is beautifully crafted and requires thinking outside the box, while the story and visual style appeal make for an enticing experience. It would have been nice to have some quality-of-life features like a hint system, autosaves, or a continue system in place, but these pale compared to the quality the game oozes. It runs well on the Steam Deck, and if you can get over some of the controller hiccups, this game is well worth your while to play!

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

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SDHQ's Build Score Breakdown

Lorelei and the Laser Eyes is easily one of the best games in the puzzle genre and is nearly perfect on the Steam Deck.

Content

Gameplay: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star
Graphics: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarHalf Star
Story: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarHalf Star
Sound: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarHalf Star
Fun Factor: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarHalf Star

Build Score

Performance: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star
VISUALS: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star
Stability: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star
Controls: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarNo StarNo Star
Battery: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star
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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Current Price: 
$24.99
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