Lorelei and the Laser Eyes is expertly crafted with puzzles everywhere you look | Hands-on preview

by on April 22, 2024

I promised myself I wouldn’t write an introduction to this preview about how diverse publisher Annapurna Interactive’s catalogue is, or how good its list of games are because let’s face it, there’s rarely a flop out there. I feel like I say it all the time, so instead of gushing about perhaps my favourite publisher around, I want to mention just how bold and smart Lorelei and the Laser Eyes is. Simogo has crafted a phenomenal puzzler with a gorgeous art style, requiring a hefty amount of work from the player in order to uncover the mysteries of a European hotel.

As far as the story goes, I’m keeping quiet. From the moment you show up in the woods, trying to find where to go with no obvious clues, it feels like you’re against the odds. After a bit of exploring you reach the gates of the hotel, and there’s a dog with a note in its mouth. What follows are hundreds of puzzles requiring mathematical proficiency, rearrangements of pictures, and a spark of efficiency when it comes to spotting the correct numbers in a document to unlock a door. More and more puzzles are thrown at you as you make your way through Lorelei and the Laser Eyes, and it’s exhausting.

And while you constantly find new puzzles to solve in every room of the hotel, you’re always thrown a bone. Yes, it wears your brain out, but there’s incredible satisfaction when solving each and every one. I had to play in one to two hour bursts because of the sheer amount of puzzles. Despite the amount of problem-solving you’ll be doing, it’s been one of the most exciting previews I’ve done all year because I love games that require you to write down every possible combination or solution in a notebook, just like The Witness once did.

You do have a photographic memory which helps record every note or letter you find in your menu, which means you can trawl back through them in an effort to find the missing piece to a potential solution. Every date on a piece of correspondence might be a clue. Every seemingly obscure poster or picture might hold something you need. A clue could be anything, and I loved just how this bleeds into the style of this noir mystery. It’s often black and white, minimalist and light on detail, but there are tinges or red and pink that breathe touches of life into it. It’s such a brilliant game that I can’t think of any reason players won’t want to dive right in.

Puzzles are inventive and layered, with every scrap of information a potential clue, and while many will lap it up and be willing to play with pen and paper at their side, having so many puzzles might throw players off who want to be able to ‘play’ more. You stop and solve in every room, with locked doors preventing you to explore further. This methodical process will put people off, but the rewards of solving these puzzles and getting immersed in this strange baroque manor far outweigh any frustrations. It’s a rather remarkable title, and a great follow up to Simogo’s Sayonara Wild Hearts.

Lorelei and the Laser Eyes is a expertly crafted game with puzzles everywhere you look. Some will stump you for a while, but they’re the type that once solved, make you feel like an idiot for overlooking the obvious. There’s a lot of variety in them too, and drawing maps, scribbling numbers, and diving headfirst into the mystery make it one of the most exciting games of 2024. We’ll be playing more in time for the full release, but for now this is one to watch out for.

Lorelei and the Laser Eyes releases on May 16th for Nintendo Switch and PC.