Lovecraft’s Untold Stories Review – Nintendo Switch

Developed By: Blini Games

Published By: BLG Publishing

Reviewed By: Tyler Higgs

Thank you very much to BLG Publishing for providing a review code

The H.P Lovecraft mythos is not something that I’m overly knowledgeable about. I’m a huge fan of horror and supernatural things, but for some reason I never became big on these stories. When I saw Lovecraft’s Untold Stories I was really interested in its gameplay. Just by watching videos, I was intrigued without any understanding of what it’s really centered around. So let’s take a look and see if the gameplay lives up to my expectations.

Story

Lovecraft’s Untold Stories is a 2D action roguelite. The story is not exactly concrete, because there are multiple characters. Each character has their own little story that centers around them. For the sake of the review I’m going to talk about the story of the first character since he’s the only one available from the start. The first character is a detective named John. John is searching, for his old detective friend who went missing and the last message he sent to John was the location of an old manor. Inside this old manor you find a cult that has been performing strange rituals and now these cultists are no longer normal human beings. You’ll have to travel through many different environments and find information about these evil Lovecraftian monsters “The Great Ones” in order to survive.

Gameplay

Lovecraft’s Untold Stories combat is centered around exploration and shooting down enemies. Each location has multiple rooms/sections that can be entered and explored. Some rooms may contain enemies, or loot and others can contain events. When you enter a room with enemies you’ll know, because the paths that connect to the room are blocked off with strange symbols. Once this happens, you have to defeat all enemies inside the room to proceed. Enemies can be very dangerous as they range from cultists, to skeletons, to big zombies that explode. Thankfully, you have access to a dodge roll, which is really useful for getting out of tight situations.. Some enemies when they attack you will also inflict you with a status effect such as poison or bleeding. These status effects will slowly drain your health for a period of time unless you find an item that can stop it. These aliments are far too frequent and seem to happy almost every time you’re attacked. I think they really need to be toned down so you’re not constantly dying, because you got hit by one enemy and bled to death.

If you want to survive the deadly environments, you’re going to have to stay on your toes. Lovecraft’s Untold Stories can really be brutal with some of its mechanics. For example, some levels are very cramped with obstacles blocking you where ever you try to go. Not to mention traps on the ground can really punish you and be a nuisance in some levels, because they blend in. This would be okay if enemies were scattered around in rooms and there was only a few. Sometimes you’ll have a horde of 10 or more entities chasing you. It can make combat really difficult and after a while gets to be quite frustrating.

Sometimes rooms won’t have any enemies and instead will have objects you can interact with. These events take place over a dialogue and tons of crazy and creepy events can transpire. Depending on the event you may lose or gain sanity. Sanity is a whole mechanic that’s separate to your health, but just as important. If you lose enough sanity your character will go crazy and die. There’s items you can get to recover sanity, but you have to pay close attention to see how much you have lost. The more sanity, you lose, the more your characters picture in the top left will be covered in a strange purple substance.

While your the diverse amount of locations you will often come across the games two types of currencies info and gold. There are little shops scattered all around each location where you can go to spend either your gold or info. You can purchase a wide range of items such as med kits, bandages, new weapons, and equipment that give stat buffs. The only problem I had with this system is that the amount of gold and info you find is very small. I always found myself never having enough money to really buy anything big.

I think it’s important to mention that one of Lovecraft’s Untold Stories biggest positives are the character options. There are 5 available characters and each one are very different from the others. The witch for example, can teleport, while the ghoul character can regenerate health over time, but can’t use medkits. It’s really nice to have such different options of characters to play as.

Lovecraft’s Untold Stories was a suspenseful adventure that I enjoyed. With its sizable cast of playable characters and solid atmospheric gameplay this is perfect for those who like a little horror, in their roguelites. This, however, isn’t a title without flaws, because the cramped maps, hidden traps and the difficulty to gain large amounts of currency are all fairly unpolished aspects of otherwise good game.

Presentation

The 2D pixel style mixed with the somber horror filled atmosphere’s deliver a visual design that works perfectly with Lovecraft’s Untold Stories gameplay. Enemies look nice, and the environments are all covered in ghoulish charm. The way that the rooms and textures blend together is nightmare inducing and, honestly the developers really nailed the overall design. The sound design is also really well done as its eerie melody mixed with loud, sudden sound effects work really well with the gameplay.

Technical Issues

During my playthrough of Lovecraft’s Untold Stories I only came across a few technical issues. Resolution was great in both handheld and docked mode, therefore I luckily had no problems here. The frame rate could be a bit spotty in rooms with larger hordes of enemies. it wasn’t enough to ruin the gameplay, but it resulted in a few unfair deaths. I had the game error and crash on me twice during my playthrough as well. This isn’t a big issue, but it is important to note. The loading times coming into the chapters are also a bit long. Loading in usually takes about 10-15 seconds which feels a bit longer than it should be.

Summary

I had a very interesting time diving into the Lovecraft lore for the first time. This is a fun roguelite with some very interesting elements that you don’t see everywhere. Unfortunately, some of the gameplay design choices, mixed with a few technical flaws make Lovecraft’s Untold Stories less easy to recommend. mixing that with the fact that the story itself isn’t overly interesting and you have an enjoyable title that looks nice but has little depth. I recommend this for anyone looking for a new horror title to play. If you’re solely adding this to your wish-list for the Lovecraftian lore I advise that you think about it before you make the purchase.

7/10

Pros

  • Overall the Gameplay is Enjoyable
  • Diverse cast of Playable Characers
  • Sanity Mechanic Is Interesting
  • Tons of Different Enemies
  • Environments Look Great
  • Very Atmospheric Visual Design
  • Sound Design mixes Well With the Gameplay

Cons

  • Story Isn’t Anything Special
  • Locations are Too Cramped & Enemies Spawn In Such Large Numbers
  • Traps Blend In Too Well With the Environments
  • Status Effects Are Frequent and Become Very Frustrating
  • Gold & Info Is Hard to Come by in Large Quantities
  • Technical Issues

Comments or Questions Leave Them here