From the title of Lovecraft’s Untold Stories, you may think this is a mashup of the late Cure hit radio single ‘Love Song’ mashed with a crafting mechanic for a dating sim. But you could not be further from the truth!
Lovecraft’s Untold Stories is a top down rogue-lite adventure game set within the universe created by legendary horror writer H.P. Lovecraft. Lovecraft was an American author who is credited with the creation of horror tales with an emphasis on fear of the unknown! There is no lack of dark cult imagery and the game’s art style is a throwback to maybe the mid 90’s PC visuals. The game has very dark colors with very pixelated style, but the animation is silky smooth. Any gamer from this era will feel right at home.
At the start you have an option to pick different characters that become available as you work through the game, giving you reply value immediately. It does use a twin stick mechanic for shooting, which you instantly may think it is shooter focused, but it is not. You will spend a majority of your time exploring and looting items instead of shooting. The music and sound is the game’s biggest draw. If you have a pair of headphones, or a nice sound system for TV-mode, turn it up.
You will die a few times as you get used to the movement. Additionally, the areas are dynamically created so they are not the same but the items and dialogue you encounter remain intact. However, there is definitely one major drawback in that there are huge sections of text that can reward you with health or take away (maybe give back) your ‘sanity,’ which, once depleted, will result in death as well.
Your ‘sanity’ is creatively represented by your character icon becoming more tangled in a purple vine at the top of your HUD. Again, although the level layout is different, you will continue to encounter the same dialogue sequences. It tends to take away from the creepy atmosphere with just repetitive button clicking. I also found myself always wanting more monsters. Without spoiling the game too much, the monsters are creative and the dialogue is satisfying, but once you read it, the “Creepy Factor” is lost.
The game is broken into multiple set pieces which does help give you a change of stage while working through the game. For example, the opening world is ‘The Mansion,” an old creaky house or later in the game a dark and deserted hospital. Players also have the help of five different characters with different stories to follow them so there is diversity in the game if you play more than once. However, as I mentioned earlier, the dialogue in each world will remain the same so although the layout is always different, you will find yourself reading the same prompts.
The “Switch Factor”
I always like to evaluate games based on how portable they are because the switch is able to do that! This is definitely not an ideal game for “on the go” gaming. It really is meant to be played in the dark with headphones or volume turned up. I tried playing without sound while watching TV or maybe on a quick train ride and it definitely just does not work very well. Additionally, since levels are dynamic, and includes finding items and uncovering dialogue if you pause and come back you will forget why or what you are doing. You will want to stop and start at the end of a world rather than in the middle of sections. I would recommend this game if you plan on having some good quiet game time and not a “pick up and go” title.
Lovecraft's Untold Stories
Lovecraft's Untold Stories is a solid offering for a $15 title in the eShop. It delivers a unique experience that borrows from games of the past but is wrapped in lore created by a historical author. I did not find myself craving this game after long sessions but it was nonetheless enjoyable. If you are looking for a solo game to play before bed in the dark for a few hours every night, this could be the ticket. Simplistic controls make it easy to put down and come back without having to revisit the tutorial.
- Sound design
- Repetitive Dialogue
- Not enough action
Prognosis is Good