Lucifer Within Us Review — Exorcise Your Rites
Developed and published by Kitfox Games
Available on Windows and Macintosh
Upon reading the premise of Kitfox Games’ Lucifer Within Us, you may do a double-take—it’s not often that you see someone’s job title listed as “digital exorcist.” Yet that’s exactly the role you take upon as you play as the game’s stoic heroine, Sister Ada.
Set in a fictional society that hasn’t seen a single murder (or possession) in over a century, players jump into the world of Lucifer Within Us in media res, investigating the mysterious circumstances that have led to a prominent religious figure’s death. Foul-play is expected, and players are tasked with uncovering the truth, and culprit, behind the murder. As players investigate the vibrant, evidence-littered environments via point-and-click, a tutorial outlines the Clue-esque, whodunnit format of how to expose the culprit.
By listening to the testimonies of the suspects (excellently voiced, I should add) on the scene, players use logic and deductive reasoning to point out the holes and fallacies of what is described as transpiring. Fans of Capcom’s Ace Attorney series will feel right at home—it follows an extremely similar format of using evidence that has been collected to expose lies that the player has been told to unlock new dialogue paths in order to get closer to the truth. Lucifer Within Us takes it a step further by actually having the characters act out each testimony that they make, so instead of simply reading endless text, players actually watch the events transpire as they’re told, right up until the grisly (cartoonish) death of the victim.
At the bottom of the screen during each case is a tool-bar that features everything Sister Ada needs to root out the evil spirit that has caused the murder: evidence that has been collected, short descriptions of the suspects, and most importantly, a timeline system that outlines each of the suspects’ testimonies. Each suspect will relay their version of what happened to you as many times as you need them to, and you can quickly and easily fast forward or rewind if need be. It’s easy to be intimidated upon first seeing all of this information presented to you at once–it’s a lot to keep track of, between how each of these components connect, and the very detailed dialogue branches that can be explored as you search for contradictions in each suspects’ testimonies. Fortunately, the tutorial takes place during the first case outlines how to proceed quite well.
When a suspect is caught in a lie, their resolve is weakened, allowing Sister Ada to peak into their minds and find possible motives. These motives often indicate to the player who seems the most suspicious and likely to have committed the crime. When players are ready and have gathered enough evidence and information, they can pull together a suspect’s means, motive and opportunity to officially accuse the murderer. If successful, Sister Ada is given a confession, and that’s when the fancy digital exorcism occurs as she calls the daemon possessing its victim by its name, extracting it from their mind.
The game features three unique cases that compound upon a larger narrative. Each case builds slightly in terms of difficulty, with helpful hints being given if needed in the first two cases, and the final case having the player take it on completely on their own. The mysteries never verge on too easy or too difficult, and settle into a nice middle-ground that will definitely have players thinking about their next step instead of hastily rushing through the game. Some may find the experience to be a tad short–it took me about two and a half hours to complete all three cases–but in a way, that made it easy to get invested in without feeling like the gameplay and narrative were redundant.
Another aspect of Lucifer Within Us that gives it a more casual vibe is the fact that players can’t actually lose the game. The daemons will never cause Sister Ada’s demise, and there is no penalty for accusing the wrong suspects, unlike the aforementioned Ace Attorney series that typically gives players a finite amount of attempts at pointing out contradictions. In fact, Sister Ada herself will say that she can accuse whomever she wants, however many times she wants, because even if an accusation is wrong, it will just lead her closer to the truth. Can’t argue with that!
Lucifer Within Us will keep you engaged with its visually-pleasing aesthetics, lively voice-acting and well-paced narrative. If you’re looking for a quick and dramatic mystery to get invested in, you’ll have a great time deducing who the true culprit is in the story. It’s as fun and unique as a “digital exorcism” sounds like it would be!