GAME REVIEW: Lust for Darkness Beta (PC)

Strange sex machines populate an opulent bedroom as my character tries to figure out what is happening. No, I never thought I’d start a review with that kind of sentence either, but the beta of Movie Games’ dark horror adventure Lust for Darkness starts in just such a way. A strange horned figure attacks me and I end up back in the cell I started from. Quite the opening scene to set the tone for what comes after. Lust for Darkness follows the tale of Jonathan Moon as he tries to find his wife who went missing a year ago. A letter arrives that appears to be from her and sets him on the path to a gothic mansion, its cultist clientele, and the strange nightmare lands that seem linked to their worship.

I managed to play through the beta in around an hour, and that was by no means rushing. I must admit that I was disappointed when I reached the ending, which says something about the narrative and how I’d been drawn into the happenings of the game world. At base, Lust for Darkness is a narrative adventure, with puzzles and the odd change in gameplay mechanic along the way. Most of the beta was spent fumbling lovingly realised objects and exploring the environment. There was also a stealth section and a chase scene. These were not particularly difficult to progress through, and they did shake things up a little bit. The puzzles encountered were not too hard if you paid attention to the environment and the events of the game up until that point.

The visuals are sumptuous. With everything cranked up to their highest settings, the dark world comes alive in an almost tactile way. Picking up a mask and rotating it so that the light hits the detail its texture holds, continued to be a pleasure throughout. The lighting in general sets a very sinister tone, and once you get to the darker world beyond the mansion, things become even more eldritch. Strange thorny protuberances arc from the walls, glugging pools suck at your character’s feet, and devilish glows seep from strange objects. All very, very lovely. The soundtrack is excellent as well, the atmosphere multiplied by Draco Nared’s ominous filmic compositions.

The objects and visuals themselves are inspired by the art of Zdzisław Beksiński, a Polish painter and sculptor known for creating dystopian art with surreal architecture. The environments and the objects do seem to contain a quirky uneasiness, and there is a mixture of ancient architecture and hissing technology to ramp things up even more. There is a strong sexual theme to much of the game, from the rutting cultists to the strange statues with sexual organs emerging from where they probably shouldn’t. Personally, I felt that it was all done in a very considered way, and the way that some of the objects actually felt more “obscene” to me than the characters, seemed like a good balance. If horror featuring sexual themes isn’t your thing, Lust for Darkness almost certainly won’t be for you.

Lust for Darkness looks like it’s shaping up to be a lovely horror adventure, the themes and general tone something that seem to go hand in hand very well indeed. I encountered no technical issues with the beta, and the game itself showed no bugs that I could detect. All it really needs is to be completed, and the story brought to whatever the conclusion will be. Having spent sixty minutes in its world, I would certainly like to find out how things end.

You can read more about Lust for Darkness on its Steam page here: Lust for Darkness.

Rating: 5/5, I would very much like more.

Reviewer: Casey Douglass

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