Exorcising digital daemons was not on my to-do list this week
DISCLAIMER: A review code for Lucifer Within Us was given to us by Kitfox Games upon our request.
In a timeline where games such as LA Noire and The Wolf Among Us have piqued my interest but made me feel silly for trying to pick the criminals out of a lineup, I decided to give up on murder mystery titles, at least until my Sherlock hat arrived in the mail. That was until a little title about digital daemons making sinners out of innocent people peeked out of the shadows. What’s the harm in a little daemonic exorcising?
Developed by Kitfox Games, Lucifer Within Us is a non-linear, point-and-click whodunnit set in a digital reality. In a world where daemonic possession was once rampant, the corruption of one’s worst and most intrusive desires was being used for evil. With the daemons gone, there hasn’t been a murder in over one hundred years, until a sudden death sparks suspicion. You play as Sister Ada, an exorcist and investigator who has been brought in to solve the apparent homicide which has the undercurrents of the first daemonic possession in a century.
As Sister Ada, you must interrogate the suspects surrounding the murders, as well as find any evidence to learn which individual may have been possessed by evil and committed such a crime. Each suspect gives a short description of how they went about their activities which is viewed from a third-person perspective. A timeline is then established that you can move and manipulate to determine if someone is covering up the facts.
Everything you need to reveal the truth is in the suspect’s recollections and the evidence you can find around the murder scene. Paying close attention to a testimony will be able to determine if it lines up with another person’s statement, and if it doesn’t, someone’s lying. To get through the mysteries, Sister Ada must find the means for someone to commit murder, the opportunity they have to do so without being caught, and the motive as to why they’d want to kill. All are needed to accuse someone of the crime and thus be exorcised of the daemon within.
It’s a short game for sure, clocking in at just over three hours for me to reach the credits, however, that doesn’t mean it lacks anything vital in terms of narrative structure. You are given three mysteries to solve – the first more or less a tutorial – with an overarching narrative that ultimately ends on a satisfying note. The mysteries themselves move along at a gratifying pace that allows you to take in the religious undertones of the all-embracing narrative, while at the same time, trying to pinpoint the wrong-doings of others at a decent speed.
I consider myself a bit of a dunce when it comes to murder mysteries, as I usually only understand who committed a crime right at the very end (after maybe a little extra explanation), so I was intimidated by the concept of having to determine the criminal from nothing more than a brief recollection of events. However, I came through relatively unscathed with very few points where I was stumped in my progression.
Although it may be satisfying to have these ‘ah-ha’ moments throughout your deductions, they can sometimes show up a bit too long after you’ve disappointingly tried to mash evidence and suspects together that seem a perfect fit but to no avail. Technical limitations were also a factor in some of the cases, as things that I could see unfolding in front of my eyes weren’t being discussed by the right party. For example, a suspect mentioned he went through a building to get out of the other side, whereas another said he turned around and went out the way he came. Viewing the timeline, you can see both realities unfold, but I couldn’t seem to make either person admit their mistake. Was this just me not asking the right cues or was that something missed in development, I’m not sure. If it didn’t matter at all, why have it in?
What didn’t disappoint, however, was the Supergiant Games-style illustrations and characteristics throughout the game. Being a narrative-driven, point-and-click murder mystery, you’re dealing with a multitude of characters to identify and read. The way the characters perform their lines and buckle under pressure at times reminded me of games such as Pyre and Transistor, with some animated voice acting alongside sombre moments. Sound design was also something I took note of, with the Gothic vibes of the background music keeping everything under an eerie blanket.
Although Lucifer Within Us only gives us a quick slice of what could be a fun ten-or-so hour adventure, the bite-sized narrative it does deliver had me entertained the entire time. It obviously gets frustrating when some of the puzzle pieces don’t quite fit together how you’d like them to but the satisfaction received from finally being able to place them in the right spots was far superior to the impediment on the way to the finished product.