Lorelei and the Laser Eyes Review – Obsessively puzzling

Reviewed May 16, 2024 on Nintendo Switch


PC, Nintendo Switch


May 17, 2024


Annapurna Interactive



Lorelei and the Laser Eyes is one of the most striking and inventive puzzle games I’ve ever played, an eccentric, stylish mystery box full of riddles, supernatural characters, and a devilishly cool art style. Incredibly tactile and intentionally vague in its confusing but intriguing narrative, it’s an experience that refuses to hold your hand, offering difficult challenges of the mind and solutions hidden in every corner, or sometimes even in plain sight. It’s a game that gets stuck in your brain so much that you’ll be thinking about it day and night, as you try to figure out answers to its numerous conundrums. Lorelei and the Laser Eyes is stuck in my head, and I can’t get enough.

It’s difficult to talk about Lorelei and the Laser Eyes without spoiling what makes it so special, but I’m going to do my best to describe it without giving away any of the discoveries and revelations that are best left for you to untangle on your own. The story starts with the main protagonist approaching an abandoned hotel; your first test is how to get inside, and from there, like peeling back the layers of an onion, you’ll encounter a maze-like structure full of brainteasers, puzzle boxes, sealed doors and combination locks all begging to be opened.

Lorelei and the Laser Eyes has been compared to a combatless “Souls-like” with its formula, referring to its relentlessly difficult puzzles and a total lack of hints about where to go next. That’s all part of its charm, though. I likened it more to an intense digital escape room, and while a lot of the early puzzles revolved around number locks, I was pleased to see more variety in puzzle types the deeper I went into this strange hotel. Much like the best escape rooms, you’ll quickly come across a bunch of puzzles that you simply don’t have the means to solve straight away. It will take time and careful observation to collect clues, hints and methodology for you to be able to progress.

“…a maze-like structure full of brainteasers, puzzle boxes, sealed doors and combination locks all begging to be opened.”

This approach was overwhelming at first; in the first hour or two of the adventure, I found my notebook filling up with a gigantic checklist of things to figure out, and not much help in how to solve any of it. While Lorelei and the Laser Eyes does offer a photographic memory of things you’ve seen in the hotel, you’ll want to keep a notepad and pen by your side to scribble down hints, numbers, symbols and thoughts as you go. While I tried to do without this old-school tactic at first, I eventually found I had to succumb to it, pieces of paper now strewn about my home office like the scribblings of a serial killer on his last rope. Once you go down the rabbit hole of Lorelei and the Laser Eyes, it’s difficult to come out.

While you can use the in-game tools to be reminded of letters, codes and pictures found in the hotel, it’s not exhaustive and can be a bit of a pain to access. There’s no “back” button when in menus, meaning you’ll need to navigate to an “exit menu” button whenever you want to leave. It’s a small frustration, but one that rears its ugly head fairly often as you’re combing through notes for the umpteenth time or trying to remember which words and phrases were underlined in that note you stumbled across a few hours ago. Combination locks also don’t allow you to simply back out of them, requiring you to try an actual solution first. It can make the pacing a bit annoying when you just want to double-check something, and your protagonist walks around at a relatively leisurely pace unless you’ve found some coffee for her to speed up, which can make some of the backtracking somewhat arduous.

Thankfully, the visual DNA of Lorelei and the Laser Eyes is so gratifying that it’s easy to wander around and take in all of the eye-catching details. A black, white and grey environment with flashes of pink and red reflecting in the shades of your sunglasses or permeating through a broken mirror maze offers a stark contrast visually when compared with developer Simogo’s other roaring success, Sayonara Wild Hearts, which was bursting with colour and vibrant personality. You won’t find a pumping pop soundtrack here; instead, gramophones littered about the hotel can be turned on (if you wish) to play some classical dark melodies that match the creepy tone of your surroundings. I’m not sure I’d go as far as to say Lorelei and the Laser Eyes is a horror game, but its vibes are reminiscent of Resident Evil without the zombies, a dark, creepy location to explore that’s full of mystery… and some other threats I won’t ruin.

You’re loosely guided by a strange figure who knows a lot more about what’s happening than he lets on; I felt some reprieve whenever I encountered him, as it showed that my baby steps of uncovering the truth were indeed showing some progress. You can even call him occasionally to check in, but what I thought might be a hint system turned out to be just more ramblings from a madman, rather than anything useful.

The feeling of being trapped in a maze ties into the themes of the overarching narrative, and you’ll end up having eureka moments that usually trigger a sort of domino effect… “Oh, that gives me the key that leads to the crank that lowers the thing to lead to a book of symbols that unlocks THAT door”. I’m being intentionally vague but Lorelei and the Laser Eyes does an excellent job of drip-feeding you tidbits to aid you on your quest, while often reminding you that everything is not what it seems, with clever riffs on puzzles I’ve seen in other experiences before that delightfully caught me off guard. Thinking differently and abstractly looking at things can certainly help; expect the unexpected, and be open to having your mind turned upside down is all I’ll say.

Its commitment to being entirely hint-free can lead to frustration at times. I’m not ashamed to admit that during the review period, I reached out to other journalists, talking about which parts we were stuck on. None of us were any help to one another, mind you; Lorelei and the Laser Eyes switches up its solutions in each playthrough to ensure that a guide won’t be able to give you the answer, but rather help you understand the concept to find the answer yourself. I’m also not particularly mathematically inclined, so some number puzzles went over my head completely but were thankfully optional.

But the feeling of satisfaction from figuring out a particularly difficult puzzle for yourself is second to none, comparable to downing a painfully tough boss in Elden Ring or clearing the most difficult platforming section in Super Meat Boy. The reward is more puzzles, or more fragmented pieces of its peculiar story, and I completely respect Lorelei and the Laser Eyes’ commitment to making a bloody challenging puzzle game, and not apologising for it. I hazard a guess that many players won’t even be able to finish it, and despite moments where I thought that might be the case for me, I found coming back to it after the occasional break offered me a fresh perspective or a previously unfound clue that gave me the motivation I needed to persevere. Stick with it, as it’s absolutely worth it.




  • Challenging, captivating puzzles
  • Dark and mysterious tone with a twisted narrative
  • Delightful black and white aesthetic
  • Unravelling more and more layers is endlessly satisfying


  • No hint system... at all
  • Manually backing out of menus and puzzles can be annoying

Not many experiences will take you on an emotional rollercoaster in the way that Lorelei and the Laser Eyes does. Like the best in the puzzle genre, it makes you feel unbelievably dumb one moment and like an incomparable genius the next. Its dark narrative takes you on a journey full of twists and turns, as its giant hotel full of riddles tests your resolve and brainpower in thrilling, unique ways. Lorelei and the Laser Eyes is a game that will stick with you, cementing Simogo as one of the most compelling and fascinating developers in the industry. Don’t miss this one.