Browsing the front page of the Steam store can lead to some unexpected discoveries. Lust From Beyond (LFB) might be the strangest one I’ve come across in some time. From developers Movie Games Lunarium, LFB is actually a sequel to a 2018 game called Lust for Darkness. The Prologue acts as a demo of sorts for the full game which is set to release early next year. Halloween may be over, but I’m always on the lookout for new titles to scare the wits out of me and this one caught my attention. With promises of a world inspired by H.R. Giger and H.P. Lovecraft, featuring a protagonist who is wrapped up in a sex cult and prays to an otherworldly erotic deity, how could I not be intrigued?
The prologue kicks off with the protagonist, Christopher, waking up in a strange alien world that is immediately reminiscent of the Xenomorph nest from Alien. Laying naked on a table, the feeling of vulnerability kicks in right away, as you’re forced to explore the hostile environment with nothing to defend yourself. Setting the mood in a horror game is not as easy as many might expect, LFB creates an unsettling atmosphere within the first few seconds of play. The environment feels gross, sticky and seems to be alive with walls that look like internal organs. At one point I came across a sarcophagus like an object with a human-like creature covered in a fleshy gimp suit inside it. It’s unlike anything you’ve experienced in a horror game before.
Eventually, I stumbled across a long, seemingly never-ending hallway with flashing lights, and I knew I was in for a bad time. As I was running towards the end of the hall as quickly as I could, a creature appeared at the other end. My attempt to escape the creature was futile, as it closed the gap with immense speed, pinning my helpless character to the ground. Just as it was about to finish me off, the nightmare ends and Chris awakens “safe” in his room, but not unscathed, discovering a deep cut on his hand where the creature attacked him.
At this point in the game, things calm down for a little while, and you get to explore the real world for a bit. Christopher lives in a Victorian-style mansion with the other members of the sex cult that worships an erotic deity in another dimension called Lusst’ghaa, the same land we just awoke from. The cult is looking for a way to enter this realm in order to satisfy their sexual desires. Wondering around the mansion, you’ll encounter some other members of the cult, including a woman that Christopher clearly has some affections for and the cult leader who is preparing for a ritual that our protagonist is destined to be the center of.
I spent quite a while exploring the mansion, both because I wasn’t in any hurry to rush back into danger, and because you can discover some diaries and other pieces of world-building literature throughout the manor. I’ve always had a weird soft spot in games that put you in real-life settings and allow you to open up almost any drawer and cabinet looking for anything interesting, so I spent a good amount of time here. After exploring thoroughly, I talked to the masked leader who tasked me with finding two totems he needs to perform for the ritual. After a short puzzle to retrieve an ancient, not so friendly looking goblet, and a trip through the colorfully named “Room of Delights,” we had everything we needed to perform the ritual.
The ritual goes about as well as you might expect. After drinking a strange potion which the leader concocted, Chris passes out and finds himself in the world of Lusst’ghaa, where he is once again attacked by a giant white creature before waking up in the mansion. This time, however, there is no escaping, as Lusst’ghaa appears to have followed Christopher into the real world, and the consequences are much worse than anyone could’ve imagined.
I really enjoyed my time with the Prologue, much more than I might’ve expected. The game features several moments of full nudity and sexual acts, but these acts are never glamorized. The few moments where these perversions are happening are used more to unnerve the player, showcasing just how seedy the cult truly is. There’s an option at the beginning of the game that lets you censor these parts of the game, and the irony of censoring nudity in a horror game that features violent murders and grotesque creatures wasn’t lost on me. Regardless, it’s refreshing seeing a game that isn’t afraid to test the waters on such adult themes, and I praise Valve’s decision to allow games that feature nudity and adult themes for leading to more interesting titles like this one.
Lust From Beyond is a truly unnerving experience. There were several moments during my hour and a half long playthrough that made me jump. I spent a good amount of time near the end of my play session crouched, moving at a snail’s pace because I was so afraid that one of the games abominations was going to hear my footsteps and tear my head off. The game does occasionally rely on good ol’ “Uncle Jump Scare”, which I usually dislike, but the jump scares in LFB are usually set up in interesting ways, including one in the mansion that I’ll remember for a long time to come.
Lusst’ghaa is the star of the show. Every time you are forced into that hell-hole; you’ll feel uncomfortable, like the very world itself is going to attack you at any moment. It’s such an interesting and unique land. At one point you’re tasked to find a way through a long hallway where tongue like appendages will give you a literal tongue lashing should you try and brute force your way past. To get past the tongues you have let out the flying insect creature with a human face and glowing body from behind a locked door. The creature will float down the hallway ahead of you and cause the appendages to retreat underground allowing for safe passage. Putting this into words is almost as strange as playing the game.
While I did enjoy my time with it, I’m curious to know what the final product will be like. Other than one puzzle in the manor, most of the core gameplay in the Prologue revolves around avoiding enemies, similar to Outlast. It makes for some very tense situations, but I’m unsure if the tension would hold over the course of an entire game. The only other puzzles I came across were simply “finding the key to this door” affair. I’m really hoping the finished product has a greater variety of puzzles.
There is some sort of sanity system in the game, as many Lovecraftian inspired titles tend to have. When you run into one of the creatures, the screen becomes more and more blurred the longer you look at them indicating that your mental state is deteriorating. There are some healing items you can use to recover your health and sanity scattered throughout the mansion. It’s unclear what happens as your sanity decreases, but my fingers are crossed for some Eternal Darkness style hallucinations in the full game.
I’m really looking forward to the full game release next year. To help bridge the gap I even purchased the precursor game, because the Prologue has many story ties to it, including the ending, which went over my head because I didn’t play the original first. If you’re looking for a unique spine-tingling experience, you can pick up Lust From Beyond: Prologue for free right now on Steam or the original title Lust for Darkness for $14.99 (on sale for 3.44). Keep checking back right here at 181gaming.com for future updates on this and other great gaming titles.
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AKA “The Board Game Mole”
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