In the small family of independent games to be released in 2021, Lust From Beyond (and so Lust From Beyond: Scarlet) acts as a real horror game to watch since it offers something quite unique in its kind. This is a horrific experience inspired by both the literary world of H.P. Lovecraft, artistic and visually disturbing works of H.R. Giger or even Beksinski, while adding a very erotic side to it, see BDSM on the edges.
Developed by the Movie Games studio (The Beast Inside), it is a sequel to the game Lust From Darkness released in 2018 and which was rather a good surprise in its time. In 2019, Lust From Beyond launched his Kickstater and a demo called Prologue was released very quickly for free. That is to say nearly 40 convincing minutes which did not bode well for the future.
So, last October, another stand-alone was born. Lust From Beyond: Scarlet is indeed a kind of introduction to what will give the title which will appear on February 25 on PC. This is to introduce us to his universe, as long as you have not already plunged into it, but especially to its gameplay mechanics that we will see come back and which was for some absent from the Prologue demo published previously.
Free-to-play requires and relatively short lifespan, we do not want to give ratings to this real visual experience. Welcome to the crappy, unhealthy and sexual meanders of Hell according to Movie Games.
(Test of Lust From Beyond: Scarlet made from a free-to-play version of the game on PC)
You might as well keep it short, Lust From Beyond: Scarlet is really not a game for all hands and it is clearly not recommended for sensitive souls and the youngest.. Visually explicit in its violence, its nudity and its sexual sequences, the title assumes its subversive side at the risk of shocking the audience, but nonetheless remains intelligent.
We play a man named Alan who after losing his job isolated himself and became addicted to porn, as well as sex. After having lived a traumatic experience, he goes to a psychiatrist to tell him about his last disturbing experience. No longer knowing what is real or not, he no longer knows where he is and relies on the doctor to help him to sort things out.
We do not know exactly how long has passed since the end of the ordeal that Alan lived. His story begins when he goes to meet a certain Réah, a charming young woman whom he has met like many others on a dating site and who invited him to join her in a kind of bar. underground called the Eden Café. And it is in this place, apparently deserted, that his misfortune begins.
The concern is that this place is home to the Scarlet Lodge, a branch of an occult sect calling itself the Cult of Ecstasy which seeks to join and / or communicate with the kingdom of Lusst’ghaa, a sort of demonic world in which pleasure and pain are one. Alan is then captured, then becomes a “seer”, because he is one of the people able to enter the world of Lusst’ghaa.
He is then used as an observer by the sect which intends to use its gift to discover the secrets of this other universe, parallel to ours, and yet so different.
Like a nightmarish painting with multiple influences
Narratively, there is not much to say about Lust From Beyond: Scarlet, car it is only an introduction to a universe and therefore takes no risk on that side, even if it does not spoil the end game. Written notes, cut-scenes and dialogues are then your main allies in understanding the universe in which you operate. However, there is also a very large part of visual storytelling to take into account, especially during our visits to Lusst’ghaa.
The premises of the lodge bear witness to the violence and sexual practices of its members, while referring there to the imagery of Lovecraft, with cult ceremonial outfits, a certain taste for antique furniture and idols. It was even more true in the Prologue demo, where the modern of our time was drowned in the old of the early twentieth century in a rather disturbing way, so much did we sometimes have the impression of evolving in a different temporality than ours. .
The thing that swears with this observation, without it being in the bad sense of the word, comes from the presence of all the sexual references: sex-toys, sexual devices of all kinds or raw graphic representations which seem more out of them. BDSM movie than anything else. And we’re not talking about 50 Shades of Gray …
As for Lusst’ghaa and its architecture inspired by drawings by Giger or Beksinski, with a very phallic design or directly referring to the female reproductive system and female curves, we swim there in the realm of lust, carnal pleasure, but also of the suffering pictured by some tortured representations or by the creatures who there resident.
If visually the game has its small effect, especially through its more than visible inspirations, but also thanks to a rather solid technical proposal, it is because of its eroticism that it intrigues. Video game universes inspired by Lovecraft or Giger we know it, but rarely has a game spoken so much about desire in the perverse sense of the theme. In this, we clearly see a parallel with a certain Clive Barker son Hellraiser.
In the feature film, the author parallels pleasure and suffering, punishing curiosity and desire with torture meant to make us achieve a kind of ultimate bliss. Lust From Beyond: Scarlet intends to develop this same theme, certainly with less brilliance, but with enough intelligence to justify the pornographic nature of the game.
Because very quickly eroticism becomes pornography, and without this shocking us, we wonder what that would give on a longer experience, even if ultimately the rare sex sequences last only a few seconds. And if that gets really annoying for you, it is always possible to apply censorship through the options on the most disturbing elements.
Classic, did you say classic?
However, the gameplay is not very ambitious. It uses a number of formulas that we already know, such as the character’s sanity which decreases when we see something disturbing, giving us hallucinations, distorting the image and being able to even lead us to death. Something that we can easily cure with remedies and the same goes for our classic health.
The game mechanics are mainly articulated between exploration, puzzle solving and infiltration sequences, or even action to a lesser extent. Nothing very striking, or even original, we find objects we use through our inventory where they should be and we find clues helping us to solve a particular puzzle.
The few sequences in Lusst-ghaa revolve around the same principles, except that here the puzzles are more environmental and that infiltration and flight then take on a different importance. Indeed, if in the premises of the lodge we can also fight with a knife during confrontation after all lambda, in the realm of lust, take his legs around his neck is (for the moment) the best of our weapons.
So it does not give anything very hectic, it is even sometimes quite confusing once we understand the behavior of the creatures in our pursuit. Some only try to catch us on a predefined play area, it is not uncommon to be able to get rid of them by crossing an imaginary line and to be able to taunt them afterwards.
It’s classic and there are a few hiccups in the execution, but it’s still overall good and fun to play. We are not bored there and if the accustomed to the genre encounters very few difficulties, except that of understanding what to do sometimes and especially how, neophytes will find a certain challenge there without being too taken up. .
The playable sexual sequences, two in number here, are fully justified by the scenario and in this rather well brought, we are far from the simple process used to flatter a certain virility. It is through an overdose of pleasure (and probably drugs) that the doors of Lusst’ghaa indeed open to us. In this, they are rather short, interactive without being too much and especially not intrusive for a penny. A fair dosage that could have quickly turned into anything.
We will then wait to have the full game in our hands before really judging the balance between all these phases of the game and especially concerning the last point that we mentioned, because condensed over an hour, all this fits well , but not sure that this will be the case over several hours of play.
Lust From Beyond: Scarlet is a good introduction to the full game. He fully accepts his inspirations and his postulate of horrific and erotic experience without ever overdoing it and always remaining consistent with his own universe. The gameplay, admittedly classic, is solid if we put aside a few small hiccups of no great importance for the moment.
It remains to be seen what all this will give on an experience beyond the hour. Because yes it is interesting from an artistic point of view and from the scenario, it remains to be seen how all this will be articulated over time. Answer in a few days.