Lies of P demo was reviewed on PC.

Developed by Round8 Studio and published by Neowiz Games, Lies of P is a game that has been anticipated since its first announcement at Gamescom 2022.  With its dark and gloomy trailer and nice slice of gameplay, it gathered so much traction that it even won several awards.  Now after three years of development we not only have the release date: September 19th, but we have a free demo of the first two chapters.

A Souls-like Fairytale

I feel like we’re all at least familiar with Carlo Collodi’s Pinocchio.  It’s a world-renown fairytale that’s still to this day is being retold again and again.  This time, we’re diving into a gothic, almost steampunk-ish world where mechanical moving puppets are the norm.  The game takes place in the city of Krat, a place that’s known all over for its mechanical machines.  However, something terrible happens that has turned all the puppets against humans.

The city of Krat is in shambles with bodies littered throughout the streets.  What’s more, the city is plagued by a deadly disease.  It’s a haunting atmosphere for sure.  It’s definitely a different take on the classic tale of Pinocchio, but I’m loving the presentation.  It’s quite unique from what we’ve seen in a while, so it is very refreshing.  It does remind me of Bloodborne in terms of how the only main survivors have boarded themselves up, hiding and hoping that somehow, they will make it through this horrific catastrophe.  You can even start a quest by talking to someone barricaded in their home. 

Honestly, it’s surprising that we haven’t gotten something like this in recent years.  There’s so much creative room when retelling these iconic fairy tales.  American McGee’s Alice comes to mind and that kind of felt like it was way ahead of its time. As I made my way through a part of the city, I found myself wandering about observing every little detail of the environment. It just doesn’t make sense to not devote a little time to appreciate the developers amazing work in design. Plus, it gives me a bit of a breather before I get demolished again.

Pinocchio Awakens

Lies of P opens with a beautiful blue butterfly, which somewhat symbolizes the blue fairy from the Disney film.  It dissolves into Pinocchio’s chest seemingly bringing him to life.  A voice is heard telling him to go to Hotel Krat and that he will need a weapon to protect himself from the dangers that lurk in the city.  He is gifted with a cricket guide puppet who we all know is Gemini that hangs off his belt.  The cage that he is in also acts as a light source to help in especially dark areas.

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When Pinocchio finally arrives to Hotel Krat, the player is first introduced to the “Lying System.” I go into detail a bit further down in the article, but here, Pinocchio can tell his first lie. The hotel is restricted to all puppets. Outside the doors, you’re given a choice to admit you’re a puppet, or lie and say you’re human. As it is absolutely impossible for a puppet to lie, the guard believes Pinocchio and lets him in. Upon entering, we’re introduced to a young woman named Sophia.  Again, with her appearance and dress, she represents the blue fairy.  She tells Pinocchio to find Geppetto and he will answer his questions. 

What’s Your Combat Style?

When you start the game, you’re presented with three different combat choices: Balance, Dexterity, and Strength.  Depending on which one you pick, you will receive one of three different weapons.  Don’t worry, you can still purchase the other ones down the line if you don’t like your first one.  Pinocchio has a set of 6 different attributes that will vary depending on the path you choose:

Lies of P Attributes:

  • Vitality – Your health
  • Vigor – Your stamina
  • Capacity – How much you can carry
  • Motivity – Your attack with certain weapons
  • Technique – Your attack with certain weapons
  • Advance – Your resistance against different elements

There is a lot more to the attributes, but this is the most basic explanation.  As for me, I like to balance things out, so I went with the first choice.  Of course, you can level up different attributes as you progress through the game.

The game really encourages you to mix and match your weapons.  Each sword and their handles can be disassembled and combined with something else, provided you have the materials for it.  Not to mention that you can upgrade the weapon increasing its stats and abilities.  It’s quite a dynamic system and I honestly wasn’t expecting it to be so complex and thorough.  This may scare some people, but I guarantee that you’ll get the hang of it.

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Every Hit Counts in Lies of P

Dear, God, why.

One of the first things you’ll notice is your attack response.  Every swing of the blade feels incredibly heavy but when you hit an enemy puppet, it’s one of the most satisfying things ever.  You really feel the blunt force of your attack, but that also goes the same for the enemies.  Depending on the enemy, one hit cuts Pinocchio’s health by half.  If you’re backed into a corner or stuck between two enemies, you’re pretty much dead as a back-to-back attack will wipe you out.  This demo does a really good job at killing your confidence after getting through a particularly tough area. 

The game by no means holds your hand.  Once it gives you a short set of instructions and some background information, it pushes you out into the killing field.  The game wants you to make mistakes and learn from them.  When I encountered the first boss, my immediate instinct was to run away.  That was a big mistake.  First, the boss will relentlessly run after you.  His attacks are long-range, so even if you were to run away, you will most likely sustain a lot of damage.  Don’t even get me started on when you whittle its health down to about half.  It gets angry and it gets worse.

What I didn’t even realize is that before you enter the boss area, there’s a punching puppet outside of the gate.  It’s put there to help you practice blocking, especially “perfect blocking”, which is unavoidable until you block at the very last second it hits you. If you succeed, you will take no damage. If you don’t, well, it’s not pretty.  When an enemy is going to engage in this form of attack, they will turn bright red and that’s when you need to be ready to block it the very second they hit you.  Man, once I practiced blocking, I still got my butt kicked.  But I got better, and I finally beat that first boss.  It was an amazing victory for me.  Only to get once again demolished by a random puppet five minutes later.  Worth it.

To Lie or not to Lie

Lies of P

As I mentioned before, the game has a “Lying System.” We all know that one of the main themes of Pinocchio is lying and it’s no different here.  I mean, it is called “Lies of P.”  Throughout several points in the game, it is mentioned that Pinocchio can gain Humanity depending on the choices you make.  There were a couple of instances that made you choose between lying or telling the truth.  I’ve got to say, just from the little bit that’s shown in this demo, it feels like the choices will get harder and harder. Perhaps, dare I say, the circumstances may possibly become gut-wrenching.

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The developers have said that this game will have three different endings depending on some of your choices.  What Pinocchio does obviously can and will affect those around him, giving this game a deeper layer of emotional complexity. So far, the “Lying System” within the demo is a very interesting one and I look forward to seeing more.

Final Thoughts

I’ve been keeping my eye on this particular title ever since it was first announced.  This demo to me did not disappoint and it delivered exactly what I expected: a dark and brutal, yet a uniquely challenging experience.  I won’t lie, you will die.  A lot.   Unless you’re one of those players that can do a no-damage run of games like Sekiro (if so, teach me your ways). 

Of course, things could very well change when the full release is here, and my rating may change.  But if you’re looking for a challenge, the Lies of P will certainly prove to be a good time.  If the demo is anything to go by, the game is sure to be worth the wait and worth every penny upon release.  I certainly cannot wait.

Lies of P will be available on September 19th, 2023, for PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X/S.

Haunting yet beautiful setting
Interesting characters and beautiful design
A great challenge for players
Intriguing story
Very promising
Fun gameplay
Pretty steep learning curve
Might be frustrating for those who aren’t used to souls-like games.

Review Summary

Neowiz’s Lies of P shows great promise after releasing a fantastic demo.

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