Lovecraft’s Untold Stories – Review
Follow Genre: Rogue-lite Action RPG
Developer: LLC Blini Games
Publisher: LLC Blini Games
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

Lovecraft’s Untold Stories – Review

Site Score
7.8
Good: Pretty retro graphics, great atmosphere, challenging combat
Bad: Perma-death can be frustrating, Sometimes you'll encounter too few items to loot, and sometimes too many with no shopkeeper to be found
User Score
9.0
(3 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (3 votes cast)

Lovecraft’s Untold Stories is a retro-style rogue-lite action RPG, where you’ll shoot countless creepy enemies in an adequately dark Lovecraftian setting. But this game wouldn’t be a homage to Lovecraft if all you could do was fight: you’ll also be able to interact with tons of interesting (but often quite disturbing) relics, having all kinds of interesting effects on your character, and enriching the setting. You can read our preview of this game here. Lovecraft’s Untold Stories has been developed and published by LLC Blini Games. 

Story

You’ll start the game playing as detective John Murphy. You are investigating a strange case, trying to follow the tracks of your mentor and friend, detective LeGrasse. The clues lead you to a mansion, where you’ll quickly discover a strange cult and all kinds of twisted artifacts. Eventually you’ll even encounter some really bizarre monsters! After surviving the horrors of the mansion you’ll find your friend, but this is certainly not the end of your journey..

There are many strange lands for you to explore, each with a separate theme, and unique visuals. You’ll explore a mansion, a hospital, a graveyard, underground mineshafts, and many more locations. Different locations all have their own type of monsters. These locations are represented as chapters, and you’ll be able to jump to a chapter once you’ve played through it.

The story of the game is being told on the character select screen, the loading screens of the separate chapters, and through all the strange items and artifacts you’ll encounter while exploring. However, most artifacts you’ll investigate (which is the most interesting option to get the most out of the story), will usually lower your sanity, which can ultimately kill you. It’s a bit frustrating to leave artifacts alone when you’re low on sanity, because it’s generally way more fun and immersive to be able to read the story behind it.

During the game you can unlock other characters, which you will first meet in game before unlocking them in the game’s menu. Playing through each character’s story line will unlock another character, as soon as you encounter them in your story.

Graphics

Lovecraft’s Untold Stories has a retro look, with pixel-art style graphics. The game has a dark atmosphere conveyed through mainly dark and gloomy colors, fitting to the setting of the game. There are many different locations, all with unique atmospheres and graphics. The UI is simple and insightful, with sanity and health displayed at the top left of your screen, and stamina and weapon + ammo at the top right. In the bottom middle are a few quick slots for usable items. The top middle shows the part of the map you are at. There’s also an inventory screen and a complete map you can view. The designs and animations of the environments, characters and monsters are well done, and fitting to the theme.

Sound

The eerie dark soundtrack is pretty nice and something you’ll certainly notice when you start playing, but after a while it sort of fades into the background while you are focused on surviving and killing enemies, and you’ll hardly notice the music anymore. The sounds of the guns and the movement of your character and enemies are very clear and noticeable, and usually you are much more focused on these sounds.

Gameplay

Lovecraft’s Untold Stories is a retro style rogue-lite dungeon-crawling action RPG. You’ll explore dark and mysterious locations, meet strange and creepy enemies, and you’ll shoot them. Along the way there are many different artifacts you can interact with, some simply telling a bit of a story, but for most of them (at least at the beginning of the game) you can choose your character’s reaction to the relic, which may lead to different results, depending on your choice. You can either be healed, hurt, turn insane, or experience no effect(s).

Each chapter has a unique look and certain types of enemies, always ending with a big boss fight, once you’ve reached or unlocked the boss’ chamber. The levels are randomly generated, so sometimes you’ll reach the boss pretty quickly, sometimes you’ll wander around for quite a while. Along the way you’ll encounter many deadly things: enemies aplenty, but also spike traps or poisonous puddles. Rooms with enemies always need to be cleared before you can progress further.

Spike traps are better visible in certain levels than they are in others, which can be a bit frustrating at times. Also, sometimes your character is hidden behind an environmental object (like a tomb), and enemies will still be attacking you. Spike traps can also be partly hidden behind environmental objects, however, they are never fully hidden.

This game is a rogue-lite, and features perma-death. Perma-death can be frustrating: the level will be completely generated anew, and you’ll start at the very beginning. However, if you manage to find an ankh, you will be resurrected at a random location in the chapter, without losing your progress. The item will be consumed in the process.

Sanity loss is deadly. Sanity is not represented with a bar, but with pulsating veins on your character’s portrait. If your character starts mumbling, you can safely assume you are in the danger zone, and you should boost your character’s sanity to avoid dying of sanity loss.

Investigating items will in most of the time result in sanity loss. However, story-wise it’s more fun to investigate, than to just walk away from the items… resulting in a lot of sanity loss if you do this. Some items will restore health or sanity, but it’s not always clear which option you need to choose for a beneficial effect. The other way to restore sanity is by eating chocolate, but sometimes you just have bad luck with the items you loot, and there won’t be that much chocolate in a level.

If your checkpoint is at a point where you are almost dead from sanity loss or low HP, it’s pretty hard to recover from that.. you’d need to be very lucky with the random generated levels and loot to get to a point where you can easily continue in the game without dying as soon as you enter a new room full of enemies, or investigate an object.

After you’ve finished a chapter, you’ll be transported to a kind of safe room where you can stash items, and collect your knowledge about the biggest boss monsters, which eventually will enable you to defeat them. After this you’ll be able to select the new chapter. You can return to this room from the main menu of the game, and you’ll be able to save your game there.

The items you loot are randomly generated, and loot seems a lot more sparse in the later levels compared to the first one. This makes status effects like ‘poisoned’ and ‘bleeding’ a lot more dangerous in the later levels. Also, since there seem to be less loot-able items in the later levels, you’ll also receive a lot less health packs and chocolate, making the game considerably more difficult. In earlier levels you’ll most likely drop valuable loot everywhere, in favor of the usable items. The shopkeepers are pretty rare in this game, but much needed in the first level(s).

The game features three different difficulty settings, and while the easy one still features perma-death, it does make surviving the lesser enemies much easier. But don’t get too comfortable: you won’t survive the boss battle, unless you dodge their attacks (which costs stamina). You’ll be able to aim your gun with your mouse, all around your character. A shotgun has quite a short range, and sometimes you’ll notice the gun won’t hit if an enemy is at a certain angle from your character. Luckily, guns have unlimited ammo, but reloading does take a while.

Conclusion

This game is a good rogue lite RPG full of action. The atmosphere fits the setting, and the Lovecraftian theme translates pretty well to the retro-style pixel-art graphics of the game. It’s a simple game which doesn’t require much thinking, but it’s great to blow off some steam. The developers added a lot more chapters since the preview we wrote for this game, and really listened to the input of the players.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (3 votes cast)
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Lovecraft’s Untold Stories – Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
Anmaja
Anmaja


I'm a LARP writer, freelance teacher and everlasting PhD student, and an avid gamer. Nowadays I game mostly on PC, but I love my retro playstation 1 & 2 as well :) I like watching anime, movies and series, and read books & comics whenever I have time!

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