Lucifer Within Us caught my eye whilst checking out Steam’s Gradient Convergence festival, a celebration and highlight of games by diverse developers. Not to mention, the game’s eye-catching thumbnail mixed with its interesting art style and a unique setting got me to download the demo for it.
The game is an interesting combination of different genres, where you have the movement and object interaction aspects of a classic adventure, and the cross-examination and evidence mechanics of the more investigative games.
Lucifer Within Us places you in the shoes of a digital exorcist/detective who is responsible for investigating murders that have a demonic entity behind them. However, these aren’t traditional demons, but more of an AI that corrupt the digitally connected people of this world.
Like in most investigations, the suspects are an important starting point, and interacting with them officially begins the investigation. This is also our introduction to the timeline, the game’s central mechanic, which breaks down a sequence of events into sections.
Each section represents an action that a suspect was performing at a certain time, and you are allowed to scrub back and forth to evaluate them at your own pace. When you do scrub through the timeline, you can see the world jump back and forth in time depending on where you are on it. You can also individually select these segments in order to use them as evidence or ask further questions about them from each suspect.
It’s this visual feedback mixed with the sandbox nature of the timeline that really makes this game stand out amongst many others, as it allows you to examine testimonies with a sense of investigative freedom unique to this game. You can have multiple events on a timeline that you acquire by talking to different suspects.
The main aim is to find holes in these testimonies, which can be done in various ways, such as finding evidence from the crime scene that you can present in order to contradict, or by using one suspect’s statement against another which makes them revise the timeline, giving you an important insight.
What makes this a bit different than Phoenix Wright or some other games with a cross-examination mechanic, is that your character has a unique power that lets them see into someone’s “inner sanctum” in order to draw up their psychological profile. In the demo, for example, I found out that one of the brothers was envious.
When certain testimonies corroborate with each other, the game will helpfully mark them as the truth, making it easier for you to keep track of what’s right and what’s wrong. Once you feel confident you have enough evidence and contradictions to an event, you can choose to accuse someone.
The accusation mechanic itself has 3 requirements you need to satisfy. You have to clarify the opportunity, the means, and the motive. For the opportunity, you basically have to present a section from the timeline, where you believe someone might have gotten the chance to kill the victim; the means by showing evidence you have found, and the motive is their psychological profile you have found from their inner sanctum.
What makes this gameplay loop even more memorable is the game’s demon angle, as the game has a daemonologie you can reference. By reading each demon’s description, you can see what sort of situations they tend to interfere in and what they feed off of.
For example, in the demo, as I mentioned before, I found out that one of the brothers was envious and it just so happened that there was a demon who benefited from this envy. It helps lead some credence to your theories, pushing you further on the right path.
The demo sadly ended before I could really see the outcome after accusing someone, but it also made me just as excited for the final game, putting it on the top section of my radar. Overall, with the polished presentation, memorable art style, innovative mechanics, and a gruesome atmosphere, the game definitely deserves to be on more people’s wishlist.
If you are interested, you can head on over to the game’s steam page in order to try out the demo for yourself before the game releases on the 15th of October. It is being developed by Montreal based Kitfox Games, who are well known for Boyfriend Dungeon and Dwarf Fortress.