Thanks to Souls-series pioneers FromSoftware, Soulslikes are everywhere these days. From big-budget releases like the Nioh franchise to small-scale indies such as the Blasphemous games, copies of the Japanese studio’s punishing formula are aplenty. However, while many attempt to carve out their own path to escape the studio’s shadow, it’s rare for a developer to ape the FromSoft die-try-die recipe, wearing its influence openly on its sleeve, while also applying a unique spin that differentiates it from the rest. Neowiz Games and Round8 Studio’s Lies of P is just that: a game that’s so very FromSoftware yet does its own thing.
Lies of P takes what FromSoft does best—brutal combat encounters, captivating environmental details, excellent weapon variety, and intricate level design—and amplifies it a few notches. The best part about the game, though, is its storytelling, which is front and center of the experience. You play as P, an animatronic interpretation of the wooden marionette Pinocchio, as you look for mastermaker Geppetto while uncovering the harrowing and terrifying secrets of Krat, a lavishly macabre location beset by murderous puppets and a deadly disease that’s killing everyone. And there’s much more happening behind the scenes, particularly relating to the game’s themes of deceit and humanity.
In this way, Lies of P is essentially a FromSoftware game with an actual narrative you can follow from beginning to end. Sure, it’s a little Bloodborne. And yeah, it’s got some Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice elements, too. But underneath these influences lies an original game that’s greater than the sum of its parts. — Levi Winslow