Lust for Darkness released back in 2018 for PC, and it has now received a VR version of the game from the team at Iron VR. With it’s mix of physiological horror with a twist of erotic and occult themes, this game is made for an 18+ audience. I have now travelled into the Lovecraftian inspired world, but what did I think?
The story in Lust for Darkness puts you into the shoes of Jonathan, who’s wife Amanda disappeared a year ago. You then receive a letter in the dead of the night, that gives you hope of being re-united with her. The letter is in her writing, and is inviting you to the Yelverton Mansion, with new hope instilled, you find out the address and head to the mansion. The question can you reunite with Amanda, while dealing the debauchery of a sex cult?
When it comes to the gameplay, it is sort of a mixed bag in what it offers – some parts work well and some don’t. At heart the main part of the game is more of just about exploration and point and click, until the next event happens that allows you to progress. You will then get some puzzle elements, stealth and chase segments.
With the puzzles, these are not overly hard to work out, with only one leaving me stumped for a short while. In the most cases the puzzles are self explanatory and all the answers will be within the room the puzzle is in.
The stealth elements are really poorly done, and they left me with the feeling they could have been completely removed and replaced with more complex puzzles. This is due to them being so basic in design and not offering a challenge, it was just a case of waiting for the cultists to move, and then make yours, or just staying far enough away from them to not be recognised.
They combat the boring stealth elements with some tension building chase segments, where these are few and far between, they really do get the heart pumping. You really do not get the time to look back and check the distance between you, and this just adds to the aforementioned tension and the feeling the game gives.
Now, the next issue in this area is the pacing and how quickly you can be running through Lusst’ghaa from demons, to going through a portal back to just general exploration in the mansion. This odd pacing really can be very off-putting, as the moment of tension is instantly eradicated rather than then winding down.
Lust for Darkness is marketed as a psychological horror, but apart from the tension building in the chases, I really found little horror in the game. With the main areas of horror just coming from well placed jump scares – which really does not make a horror game for me personally.
One thing that really stood out for me in the game is the excellent art direction the team took with the décor of the Victorian mansion and the design of Lusst’ghaa.
The transition of going from a beautifully decorated mansion, in to the dark, yet some how colourful Lusst’ghaa really does work in the games favour. Upon first stepping into both areas, you will want to stop and take in what the team have done with the world design.
This especially happens when entering Lusst’ghaa for the first time. With each room being lit with shades of blue, red or violet, bring to the forefront the very H.R. Giger inspired sculptures, the trees that fill the rooms with black twisting roots and brambles over growing the phallic sculptures and ripping through the flesh of some cultists that are stuck in Lusst’ghaa.
With what the game is doing and the story it is telling of course most of the content is not safe for work, with orgies, sex toys and the previously mentioned phallic sculptures being littered throughout the game.
As with the gameplay the audio aspect of the game is a bit of mixed bag when it comes to the voice acting. Where the lines on the main characters are very well delivered, the cultists conversations and voice acting seems very bland.
But with a game like Lust for Darkness, the main use of the audio should be setting the scene and tension to go with the gameplay – and this is something the team at Iron VR have managed. With the use of environmental sounds setting the locations perfectly, and the music really brining an extra level of tension to those chases.
I am not sure if this is something I over-looked in the options, but I found the game needed to be played standing, and came with limited comfort settings. The comfort options includes smooth locomotion and teleport mixed, and continuous or snap turning, it does not offer any sort if vignette opinions for those who like but cannot quite fully stomach smooth locomotion.
When it comes to the controls there are kept simple, with the analogues to move and then just grabbing the items with grips and triggers and this all the game needs. However, if you are using the Index controls, you cannot set it them to toggle grab, so if you loosen your grip you will drop the item in your hand – which at times I had done this without noticing.
My play through of the game took around two-hours, but this was just getting through the story, and not collecting all the items to unlock the side stories. The game comes with three side stories, all of which need you to find five collectables each in the main game to fully unlock the side story.
If you miss any, you will have to go through the game again to find the missing ones, so this can give you a reason to go back. Some people might want to do this, as the side stories explain a lot more about Willard (the cult leader) and his origins, the birth of the cult, and on Lusst’ghaa.
Reviewed using Vive Pro Eye & Index Controllers
For the purposes of transparency, this review was created using a review code provided by the company or their respective PR company. The use of a press code does not affect my judgement of the product.