Lies of P Review: Pinocchio Meets the Mean Streets
Where many Souls-like titles often tread the same cobblestone paths, “Lies of P” emerges as a curious detour. Developed by South Korean studio Neowiz, the game offers a grim reimagining of Carlo Collodi’s “The Adventures of Pinocchio,” set against a Belle Époque backdrop that evokes 19th-century France. But does it carve out its own identity or merely dance on the strings of its inspirations?
The game’s aesthetics, while atmospheric, often feel like a pastiche of better-realized worlds. The gaslit streets and dimly-lit alleyways are reminiscent of “Bloodborne,” yet they lack the same haunting allure. The game’s level design, too, is a mixed bag. While the Belle Époque setting is a refreshing departure from the usual medieval fare, the game’s environments—from puppet factories to circuses—often feel like window dressing for a narrative that struggles to find its footing.
The story itself is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it introduces a morality system that allows players to lie or tell the truth, affecting the game’s ending and even specific item rewards. This mechanic, while intriguing, often feels underutilized, leading to choices that seem more perfunctory than impactful. On the other, the narrative does manage to offer some unique twists on familiar characters from the Pinocchio tale, such as a reimagined Geppetto and a talking cricket named Gemini who serves as a guide.
Where “Lies of P” truly diverges from the Souls-like formula is in its combat system. The game introduces a unique “karma system,” which keeps players invested by offering a variety of skills and attachments to experiment with. However, once players find a winning combination, the incentive to experiment wanes, making the combat feel less dynamic over time.
“Lies of P” is a game that tantalizingly flirts with greatness but never fully commits. Its narrative offers a fresh take on a classic tale, but its gameplay mechanics and level design often feel derivative. For those willing to overlook its shortcomings, the game provides a unique, albeit flawed, experience that adds a new chapter to the ever-expanding Souls-like genre.
RATING: 3.0 out of 5
Lies of P is now available for PC, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S/X.