Solve murders by gathering witness testimony, confirming with physical evidence, and forcing new testimony from contradictions, in Lucifer Within Us. Lucifer Within Us is a sci-fi detective game featuring logic and deduction.
Format: PC via Steam
First playthrough time: 3.5 hours
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In Lucifer Within Us, players are brought to the scene of a suspected murder. Suspects are present who can be questioned, providing a timeline of events according to them. While listening to their testimony, players see events replay from their point of view, including their limited cone of vision and any actions that may later be recanted or proven false.
Once players have the testimonies from suspects, they can question them for further detail on any section or replay from any point in the timeline. Suspects can be questioned about each others’ timelines and notes on the different events will keep track of what actions have been corroborated and which have not. Statements can also be corroborated by physical evidence or contradicted.
When players find a contradiction between testimonies or testimony and physical evidence, they can contradict the suspect. If the contradiction is legit (aka the player isn’t just randomly choosing items to try to find a contradiction), the suspect will revise their testimony. This may break large vague sections of their timeline into specific actions, or replace sections altogether. Contradictions also weaken the suspect’s resolve and allow the player to delve into their mind to learn about their personality and values. These traits can also be used to question subjects.
Once a player has a timeline that incriminates a suspect, physical evidence against them, and a personal trait of theirs to provide a motive, they may accuse the suspect. There’s no punishment for accusing incorrectly, and false accusations may prove useful if the suspect provides additional information as part of their defense. An investigation continues until the single correct accusation is made. Typically some amount of back-and-forth with suspects is necessary to gather all the information for the correct accusation.
My biggest struggle with Lucifer Within Us is that it’s only 3 cases long. While the details and mechanics involved in the cases are very enjoyable, the length of the content doesn’t reach the same bar. This is especially true for folks that had already played the demo, which is the whole first investigation. I’d have liked to see another 1-2 cases to build up the story and really show off the wonderful investigation system they’ve created. The ending leaves the story open for continuation which I very much hope for.
One thing that I found odd in Lucifer Within Us is that during testimony playback (when the player is watching what the suspect is describing), details are often included that the suspect doesn’t mention. For example, an item or recognizable silhouette may become visible even if the suspect wouldn’t have known this information or wouldn’t have shared it because it incriminates them. I’m not sure if this was included as a means of giving hints, but I would have preferred to play without it for a more realistic challenge.
Overall, I very much enjoyed the mechanics of Lucifer Within Us, but was left wanting in terms of additional cases. The investigation system is very detailed and interactive and I’d like to see the content expanded to meet the same bar. I’d also like to see the difficulty turned up a little, especially in the removal of potential hints during testimony playback. I recommend Lucifer Within Us to players who enjoy detailed investigation games that are okay with there only being 3 investigations.
What detective games have you enjoyed?
Let me know in the comments below!