Lust: described as an intense longing or an extreme sexual desire, it is considered one of the Seven Deadly Sins and associated with blinding throws of pleasure. It is this lascivious darkness that Lust for Darkness finds its namesake. With a tale that is as twisted as it is twisting, Lust for Darkness is a story that walks the line between puzzling and petrifying, creating an unsettling experience.
Lust for darkness places you in the eyes of Johnathan, an architect whose wife disappeared two years ago and hasn’t been seen since. Life has been mundane since time has passed and Jonathan is all but living his life as best he can until one day he receives a letter that appears to be from his wife leading him to an unknown mansion where she’s being kept. From there Lust unravels as a tale of depravity as you infiltrate a sex cult playing with powers beyond their control.
The journey balances between the horror of trying to survive in a place you don’t belong and uncovering the Lovecraftian themes that run strong throughout the game. For the most part the story plays out like your standard horror movie; a sense of unease that never really lets up, constant foreboding, and the underlying information to fill you in to greater terror. Taking roughly three hours to complete, Lust doesn’t leave much room for long term pay offs and deeply branching narratives, but none the less provides and scary and interesting story that keeps true to its Lovecraftian inspirations in more ways than one.
The gameplay mostly comes off as your standard first person puzzler; you move in a pretty linear and well directed pattern moving forward until you need to solve a before you can continue. Puzzle solving is elementary level, mostly just item collection, though it doesn’t hinder the experience all that much as it allows you to keep with the race-against-time the game presents itself as. While it would have been nice for some of that Lovecraft mystery to be brought to the puzzles, it works well here, even for those without a degree in Lovecraft horror.
Like many horror titles, you aren’t a capable fighter. This splits the rest of the exploration into either stealth or escape. The mechanics for both are simple, sneaking around mostly consists of staying out of sight and having to restart if you are spotted, and the latter most involves figuring out how to sprint away from whatever is trying to kill you. The only thing that kind of disappoints is the inclusion of an item that affects your sanity, while it posed a great opportunity (especially with the Lovecraftian elements) to really shake up the experience, it only acts as a status effect that leads to game over.
The execution of the artistic side of horror is key to success and Lust for Darkness does a solid job whose shortcomings are luckily covered by the games pace and linearity. Visually the game mixes Victorian architecture, BDSM, and Lovecraftian horror to create a constant sense of unease as you travel through the mansion facing monster and miscreant alike. It should be noted this game holds nothing back and includes fully visible genitalia and intercourse alongside a host of tools and paraphernalia.
The game also never fails at making your skin crawl whether sneaking around an orgy or coming face to face with a monster of the void. However, aside from an incredibly well done, animated opening, the graphics of the game are largely not noteworthy. Things look as they should in passing, but sometimes there is a level of unpolished detail with items and animations that, while largely unnoticeable, become clearer if you happen to get stuck or decide to take a detailed gander around. The sound track is fitting if not par for the course and the voice acting is largely forgettable though there isn’t enough of it to make you actively dread the next set of dialogue.
Lust For Darkness elicits a feeling of constant, underlying dread like that of the second circle of Hell in Dante’s Inferno, with the noises rumbling beneath their feet like the trembling of an ocean. There is a darkness to this game emphasized by the subject matter that, while jarring and certainly uncomfortable, never feels unreasonably gratuitous or insulting to the player. While extremely linear and offering little in the way of side content, the experience alone makes the $14.99 price tag more than reasonable. Lust for Darkness truly feels like a summer horror flick; never ceasing in its attempt to unsettle you and making sure it has a few tricks up its sleeve to keep you on your toes, or at least keep the hair on the back of your neck at attention.
While not perfect, Lust for Darkness may just be the taboo horror experience you desire.