Lies of P Review – Excellent Souls-like, no strings attached

Reviewed September 14, 2023 on PC


Xbox One, PS4, PC, PS5, Xbox Series X|S


September 19, 2023




Round8 Studio

When Lies of P was announced a little shy of two years ago, the gaming world was baffled and reeling. A Victorian-era set Souls-like that’s like the beloved Bloodborne only it stars Pinnochio and follows the greater Pinnochio world? Surely there’s no way this game ever comes to fruition let alone turns out good? Folks, I’m here to tell you that developer Neowiz Games have proven us all wrong. I’m here to share the good word about the little Souls-like that could.

Lies of P takes place in the fictional town of Krat, a city heavily inspired by the Belle Époque period of France, Belgium and European history, spanning from about 1871 to around 1914. It was an era of economic bloom, with the arts in particular flourishing, along with general colonial expansion. Simply put, it’s an excellent slot in history to take inspiration in telling a Pinocchio story. You control, you guessed it, half puppet half boy Pinocchio (named P in-game). In this era, puppets and humans who once lived in harmony are affected all the more by what is described as a ‘Puppet Frenzy.’ The streets are now largely abandoned by humanity, replaced by blood that stains the very cobblestoned streets you walk, along with corrupted puppets harboring murderous intent. Only you can rescue your father figure Gepetto. Only you can make sense of the world, undergoing an arduous journey to stop the Puppet Frenzy.

In about the fifty hours I spent with the game (quicker or longer depending on how skilled you are), I found Lies of P filled with surprises that constantly had me reeling and wanting to explore more of its world. Pretty quickly you set up shop in the Hotel Krat, your HUB for the game where you meet other key figures such as Sophia, a ridiculously pretty woman with pale blue hair that has utmost importance in the greater world and mystery in Krat. The further you explore Lies of P’s world, the more you’ll see remnants of humanity, such as inventors and individuals that need rescuing, or you’ll run into individuals who succumbed to madness, labelled Stalkers. These are people who wear masks of an animal and are often dressed like nobles, wielding a sword and being very swift and formidable. It becomes apparent through these individuals and some of the environmental storytelling that there is a great divide in the world between humans and puppets. Where P falls on that spectrum by the end of the game, you’ll have to come to that decision yourself following the people you meet and experiences you have.

Speaking on environmental storytelling, it is an excellent boost to the weird, terrifying and memorable experience being told to you. Graffiti plagues the streets. People are mad at P and consider them an abomination for being half human and half puppet, rather than one or the other. Walls will be painted in blood with blunt messaging, calling P a hypocrite or liar. You’ll hear sobs or cackles behind boarded-up windows, highlighting how bunkered down most of civilisation is. Walking trepidatiously through streets, awaiting horrors at every corner, I couldn’t help but be fully bought into the mystery, wanting to find out just what went wrong.

The old-timey setting filled with unspeakable horrors is incredibly reminiscent of Bloodborne. Something the marketing isn’t shy about and likely why you might be here, reading this review. It’s certainly what drew me in. What made me stay is that, and bear with me here, Lies of P is so blunt with its edgy storytelling that I can’t help but feel like this is a Riverdale-esque (or any other show you’d find on The CW network) telling of Pinocchio. It’s incredibly extra and silly, but revels in it. This is apparent in P’s design of a pale, Victorian-era young boy who simply looks so much like Timothée Chalamet, and also the fact that he walks around with a lit container holding a talking and snarky Gemini (this universe’s version of Jiminy Cricket). Even Gepetto is a little too hot for how he should be. Even proper nouns for key items and functions in the game are ridiculous, such as your heart, used for core upgrades, being labelled your P-organ. Seriously. It doesn’t even toe into a bastardisation storytelling of Pinocchio, it’s so over the top it’s the most excited I’ve been about fairy tales in a long time.

“…Lies of P is filled with surprises that constantly had me reeling and wanting to explore more of its world.”

P’s nose may not grow in-game as you lie, but the world around him will shift. Dialogue choices will present themselves to you quite frequently, leaving the player with the option to lie or tell the truth. Depending on the situation sometimes the more humane thing to do is lie to an individual, such as when you want to spare someone’s feelings. For example, an early side quest of the game had a woman request that P find their missing baby. Upon finding the baby, you discover they’re a malformed puppet. When you return to the woman, she asks you if you think the baby is gorgeous and you can tell the truth, stating they’re unsightly, or you can pick the more humane option and lie. While there are apparent ways to be devious to others and feel more akin to the evil route of the game, I enjoy that some choices aren’t as binary as you’d think and do have you deliberating.

These choices meant trust was broken with individuals while alliances were formed with others. It’s a really engaging means of having the world state change, leaving players spared of tough boss fights or forced to overcome others from people now decidedly your foes. By the time it was all over, I was enthralled by how my story played out, but it’s just the beginning with all the other stories and branches out there to be told that I’m begging to find in New Game +. Better yet, Lies of P ends with an unbelievable post-credit scene that caused such a visceral reaction from me I screamed in delight. Without hyperbole, it’s one of the most out-there end scenes we’ve ever seen in games. If you’re avidly interested in the game or only passing, I implore you to seek out witnessing that ending by whatever means necessary.

Delivering the goods

Lies of P is a master of all trades in the Souls-like genre. What I mean to say is that though the comparisons can already be drawn to From Software’s Bloodborne, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to know it has a little bit of everything. For one, it takes a few encounters for it to become apparent that parrying is a big focus in those situations where a well-placed dodge won’t suffice. Personally coming hot off playing Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice for the first time recently, this element made the game truly sing for me. Not only is there that quintessential satisfying sound cue of swords clashing when you pull off a perfect parry, but there’s the added factor that keeping up this defensive pressure can not only stagger an enemy but in-fact break their weapon, something I’ve yet to see for the genre.

What also feels fresh from Sekiro is the fact that P’s left arm is a robotic arm that can come in a few different forms in the equippable ‘Legion Arms.’ One of these Arms is a grappling hook and though it’s not used directly as traversal means like its inspiration, it can be used to effectively pull foes towards you or close gaps and pits, provided it’s used on an enemy. Explosive ammunition, electric and fire blasts, or a bonus shield make up for some of the other Arms one can equip and though they all make for a fun arsenal for experimentation, the hook was my favourite for versatility.

Parts of the game even seem inspired by incredibly recent titles. There are many different weapons to be picked up and used in Lies of P, whether that’s from chests you find while out and about in the world or the rarer and epic boss weapons you get from taking down a big beastie. Joyous experimentation comes in breaking apart these common weapons, using one handle with the blade of another. What this yields is powerful abilities that are akin to Spirit Ashes from 2022’s triumph Elden RingThese come in the form of potential passives that bolster stats such as defense, or active animation-locked attacks that are both only able to be used when you’ve developed enough charge in your ‘Fable Slots,’ earned by either using items or dealing damage. These attacks are not only incredibly valuable but wicked cool in their animation, often resulting in P flailing about their weapon in delightful ways.

If you’re like me and hopped on the Lies of P bandwagon because of its similarities to Bloodborne, you’ll be pleased to know likeness extends beyond aesthetic. Lies of P is a game that truly encourages aggression where possible. There’s the ability to regain health chipped away from strikes not perfectly protected against. How one does so is by getting in the thick of things, quickly retaliating and striking your enemy to see that little chip of health slowly build back up. This incentive, which is also in Bloodborne, is an excellent means of teaching the player how to get better at the game and how to bend combat to your will, dodging into enemies and knocking them down rather than the normal instinct of retreating.

If all these moving parts of Lies of P were implemented poorly or nothing special, it’d feel entirely derivative. Here, they’re all mechanics that work immensely well and complement one another. If you’re very much a player of the genre, playstyle and combat fluidity will come naturally to you, employing tactics such as dodging under the legs of great big foes and turning off the lock-on targeting mode when it comes to groups of enemies so you can slash them all in one. What this all boils down to is the fact that though Lies of P may not be the most unique title you’ll find in the space, it is everything you know and love about it all in one spot. Frankly, that’s better than I expected for a game that has a silly title and premise. The developers actually pulled it off.

Leveling up and journeying into horrid swamps

Equally impressive are the setpieces, environments and boss encounters, something that continually bettered itself. In your desperate sprint to rest points (whimsical little mechanical devices known as Stargazers) abandoned factories, streets with horrid puppets and sewer systems are just some of the environments found. The further in the runtime and more locations you go through, the more pleased you’ll be that Lies of P goes through all the quintessentials. That delightfully horrifying Souls-like on-edge feeling of knowing something can jump out at you from any angle at any moment is always there such as narrow scaffolding that lies above a pit, populated with puppets with hunting rifles ready to shoot and knock you off making you end a run and lose all your Ergo (the game’s currency for leveling up and purchasing goods at the Hotel Krat).

One of my location highlights included a poisonous swamp area meshed with a puppet graveyard. Already you’re worried about what disfigured puppets may emerge from under the sludge, along with the bigger mooks lurking about near you. However, above you also lies a castle tower where a ballista is firing gigantic munitions at you as well. Good luck with that delightful hellscape. Another strong location is the entertainment district, home to creative enemy designs such as a big bouldering boxing clown with arms like a slinky, or operatic singers that are human spider hybrids found in the district’s Opera House. There are quite literally dozens of biomes to explore and they get stronger in quality the further you go, with a good amount connecting via clever shortcuts such as destroying literal walls or removing an acidic pool with fire. An extra step ahead of the typical unlocking of doors or kicking down ladders.

Further incentive to revisit these environments are side quests or clues you’ll receive that provide a postcard of a spot you’ve been before, tasking you with hunting down and now unlocking a secret path netting you goodies such as pretty cosmetics to dress your P in or valuable upgrade materials. The only time all of this lets up, at least on PC, is the noticeable texture pop-in that can happen from time to time, taking you ever so slightly out of that immersion.

Of course, a Souls-like game is nothing without its bosses. Thankfully, this is yet another area that the game doesn’t disappoint, delivering about twelve main bosses and many more optional ones depending on your current spot on the ‘remaining a puppet vs. turning full human’ scale. These run the gambit. As is my typical experience with these types of games, gigantic and domineering bosses are the ones I’m more competent in tackling, aptly dodging into the foe and therefore avoiding sweeping attacks and the like. Keep this rhythm up as you doll out damage and before long your enemy will be in a vulnerable ‘Foggy,’ state with their health bar turning white. When this happens, a heavy attack will well and truly leave them stunned, meaning you can then attack in the right prompted spot for a visceral Fatal Attack which takes out a large chunk of their health.

It’s these types of combat mechanics that I absolutely live for in this genre. Combine that with the trademark tradition of being able to backstab regular enemies if you position yourself right and there are so many neat little ways to bend and twist encounters to your will.

The bosses that will give more people trouble are the ones with either multiple foes to tackle or smaller, fast-moving individuals that attack in a flurry. A lot of these require plenty of thinking on the fly and constant kiting about, being stingy and sparing with your hits, even using throwables or other combat items. All require parrying and lots of it. That’s a challenging ask but worth it; some of the bosses are absolutely gorgeous, whether it’s Eldritch-style monsters corrupted by the Ergo essence or small puppetmen that emerge from a giant, bigger bot. Accompanying this is mesmerising cutscenes that slowly reveal the true nature of a boss as you’re introduced to them, leaving you with dread about how you’ll tackle them. Rest assured, you can and you will topple them.

Life in Lies of P can be made easier or harder for yourself in a number of ways. You can always summon an NPC in for boss battles, with a resource that I found to never be lacking. A valuable meat shield and another target to pull the boss’s focus to. Otherwise, specialisation is key. Outside of the typical levelling up of health and other stats to improve your defense and the like, upgrading the aforementioned P-organ not only adds permanent passive buffs with each given node but also opens up new styles of play. Suddenly two dashes can be performed in quick succession or you can have a quicker recovery when knocked to the floor. Health charges can also be added up, and so on. Valuable resources and items also open up themselves to you in shops the more you progress. While not necessarily the deepest upgrades we’ve seen, they’re far more tangible than watching a bunch of numbers go up.




  • An over-the-top and edgy telling of Pinocchio that works
  • Wonderful Souls-like combat with flourishes that set it apart
  • Memorable boss and environment designs
  • Meaningful upgrades that go beyond building up numbers
  • The lying or truth-telling mechanic makes for effective world state changes


  • Occasional graphical pop in breaks immersion

More than just a meme game with a meme name, Lies of P is a thrilling Souls-like that delivers on its promises. On offer is a charming and over-the-top dark Pinocchio story, made all the more impactful by its blunt environmental storytelling. Genre fans also get to have their cake and eat it too, having functions from a lot of the titles in the crowd that work together in tandem to create a thrilling and delightfully challenging combat experience with memorable and grandiose environments and boss design. There are small mechanical additions such as breaking foes’ weapons and a morality system explored through lying or telling the truth that are both valuable in distinguishing itself just that little bit more.  Topping it all off is a thorough journey with meaningful upgrades and a changing of world states to have you coming back for more. I cannot believe this silly little game actually pulls it all off, providing one of the better action games we’ve had this year. Lies of P isn’t just a wannabe. It’s a real game standing with giants.