Warning: the following article and trailer contain Mature Themes
Lust for Darkness by Movie Games Lunarium
Whether a game is developed by a team of six or six hundred, it is only the final personal experience that truly counts. Lust For Darkness, Movie Games Luminarium’s horror debut, has been brought to Steam by a half dozen first-timers who have produced something that, unfortunately, has very little in its favor.
Jonathan Moon’s wife Amanda has been missing for a year. Then one night he receives a cryptic missive from an anonymous individual telling him to go to a mansion out of town to find her. Details are scant, but Jonathan has to go, or the game would be four minutes long.
So I went to this mansion (I knew it was going to be an occult orgy thing replete with face masks etc. because of the misleading trailer) in the dead of night, sneaking through an almost-perfectly human-shaped hole in the wall. “Good of them to think of me,” I thought. I stealthily nabbed an invite and got inside the building.
Padding the Cell
There’s a lot of walking in Lust For Darkness. Well, I lied. I occasionally ran. The game suffers immediately from what this kind of game suffers from regularly: padding.
Even with a running time of just about two hours, I spent too much time picking stuff up for no discernible reason other than I knew that I could interact with it and sometimes one of the aforementioned items revealed something useful like a code for a lock box on the underside or whatever. (I wandered around a bit, though it’s really impossible to get very lost, and found a few typical random notes supposedly there to expand on the world of the game. Not interesting.)
So, I walked around, and Jonathan was pretending like he didn’t know this was an orgy-in-the-making (just awful dialogue and voice acting by the way: emotionless, boring, irrelevant, unnatural). People then began having sex (believe me, it is not in the least erotic and it is the sole proper naked lady scene in the thing, dang it).
Jonathan started to feel a bit odd (the screen wobbled to convey the point adequately,) and he found a portal in the wall that transported him to another dimension! Interesting, you say? Let me slap you with my wet fish of hard reality.
The Point is Blunt
Nothing in Lust For Darkness makes any sense, and that’s fine if the supernatural world I’m thrown into establishes its own rules and adheres to them, or if the ideas in the game are truly investigated fully or – idea of ideas! – if I’m shown something even remotely original.
The alternate dimension, Lusst’ghaa, that bleeds creepily and eerily into the mansion is never explained. Why is it here? Why is it accessible to these people? Who are these people? There’s something about intergalactic crossover alien sex, maybe? I don’t know for sure. And no NPC in the game adds anything to, well, anything. Unless adding to the bad voice acting counts. And it probably should count.
For an example of wasted potential, Jonathan can wear an omniscience mask – he just kind of…you know…found it – which allows him to see things differently inside the alien dimension. Cool, you think? Again, I slap you. All it does is let me walk through a handful of random doors that are perhaps locked, or it creates a red, misty bridge now and again to – wait for it – let me cross over gaps.
If he doesn’t take the mask off in time, he will go insane, but there’s never one instance where that ever becomes a genuine threat. The horror elements feature easy jump scares, gory corpses and occasional chases by random scary dudes in the nether realm.
Lust for Positives
Move-the-things-to-create-a-pattern-to-open-the-door puzzles are initially fun and satisfying but eventually become just uninspired encumbrances with zero context. Also, I have never had a game crash on me so consistently. Every death screen forced me to quit the game and reload it.
Arguably, that single gigantic hindrance did me a favor in its efforts to foil my completion of the game, because the less said about the story the better. It is nonsensical, incoherent and bizarre.
Having said all that, it is a pretty game, with Lusst’ghaa particularly striking in its disturbing imagery, and the juxtaposing Yelverton mansion itself is equally well-presented. At the right angle, the light filling strange rooms made of gooey walls and unmoving purple tentacles is really something to admire.
Unfortunately, all told, Lust for Darkness is overpriced, silly and very much undercooked in every department.
Lust For Darkness is available via Steam.
Watch the official Lust For Darkness trailer below: