Review by Nicola Warren
Being a big lover of all things Lovecraft I was highly looking forward to the release of Untold Stories on the switch even though I feel that the Lovecraft games have been slightly overdone by this point, but I have finally gotten the chance to play it! Developed by LLC Blini Games and published by BadLand publishing we are handed this 360-degree shooter, 16-Bit arcade, Detective action game.
Kicking off the game in a creepy mansion you play as a shot gun wielded detective who is there to investigate 5 areas within the horroresque 1920’s Lovecraft settings, Unfolding the story as you go through text and the odd clue you find within the level. I really enjoyed the game to start with as you needed to explore the mansion inspecting every nook and cranny for clues while fending off various lovecraftian themed monsters and cultists that dash in and out of the shadows while attacking you. Sadly, though this soon changes as you progress through the game, in fact this actually changes as soon as you leave the first of the 5 settings. Once you arrive at the hospital the investigatory element of the game drops considerably and you find yourself fending off even more enemies than hunting clues, Then as soon as you hit the graveyard setting the investigatory element is dropped completely and the game clearly turns solely into a shooter.
You soon learn that you have a very limited inventory as you progress so you have to be very careful with what items you decide to equip, Although this is not necessarily a bad thing seeing as there are really only a handful of weapons which you can use consisting of your initial shotgun and then dynamite and grenades. Death in the game comes on imminently if you are not careful from the get-go and you are soon sent back to your last checkpoint, which can be few and far between.
The levels have a very melancholic feel to them which is something I personally love within a horror themed game, which LLC Blini Games have paired perfectly with a just as fitting soundtrack alongside some well known and not so known enemies. There are also some great references to the work of Lovecraft throughout the game, My favourite being the 3 Giant Penguins you encounter that you need to protect at all cost which has been brought over from Lovecraft’s book At the Mountains of Madness. Yet there is one very big difference with these penguins… They talk and scream… Like Humans.
The main aspect of the game that I felt was really unbalanced was the difficulty levels. In most games they usually start off at an easy level of difficulty and then it rises as you progress on, but not in Untold Stories! The game kicks off being quite difficult, the investigatory part of the game is simple but it’s the enemies which are the difficult to kill. Then as you progress to the later stages like the hospital and tombs where the amount of enemies rise they become easier to kill, including the bosses that you encounter. Luckily though the game does consist of randomly generated levels so the difficulty levels can spike at times which makes it slightly more bearable and you soon forget how unbalanced the difficulty levels are.
Overall, I enjoyed the game as I am a big fan of Lovecraft and I feel other lovecraft fans will enjoy the game even if it’s because of the many references throughout the game. The difficulty levels definitely need some ironing out and there isn’t really much in the sense of character progression, but you can unlock a further four characters, A Professor, Witch, Thief and Ghoul Which make further playthroughs more viable especially with the randomly generated rooms.
Overall I give Lovecraft’s Untold Stories 6/10