When you think of the timeless tale of Pinocchio, the classic Walt Disney film automatically comes to mind. You watch a lonely carpenter create a wooden doll, and with the help of some magic, the doll comes to life and begins his quest to become a real boy. Lies of P tells the story of Pinocchio in a different light. Instead of telling their story to children, they took a different approach. The setting is a frail, dark, dystopian world filled with gloom. With a dark location mixed with the soulslike/Bloodborne gameplay genre, Lies of P pumps new life into a story I would have never seen portrayed differently in a million years. Developer Neowiz took the task to make this fairy tale adaptation their own. Did they succeed? Here is my review.
To be completely transparent, I do not usually play soullike games like Dark Souls and Bloodborne. However, ever since Elden Ring, I have wanted to try different ones out. I am a noob, and this genre’s “get good” mentality applies to me. Lies of P initially caught my interest because of the story. You play as Pinocchio. He is a unique puppet that the carpenter Geppetto created in the gloomy, dying town of Krat. The town has been overrun by the corrupted puppets serving the humans living there. Now, Krat has become a living hell for humans, and Pinocchio’s job is to try and bring it back in order. Most soulslike games have a loose interest when it comes to stories. Lies of P does not fall into that trap. Although some of its story contains plot holes, the game uses the story to progress to different areas reasonably well. Initially, the story starts a little slow but eventually finds its pacing once you obtain a mastery of the controls. Characters from the children’s tale are also in this game but are fitted in different roles to match the setting. Pinocchio still carries his cricket companion, Jiminy, but some people, like the people who “corrupted” Pinocchio and became donkeys, are a bunch of thieves and criminals. One thing I appreciate in the story is that your decisions matter. Lies of P also implements a Truth or Lie system in which, depending on your choices, it will impact the story positively or negatively. When there are stakes in decision-making in a game, the story feels more personable.
I find the controls in Lies of P interesting. Your character has three belt areas where you can equip potions, bombs, enhancements, and more. You have an upper belt, a lower belt, and a shortcut bar. I initially thought having many slots to set up multiple items was excellent. This may be just my take, but I was wrong. There were constant times when I was fumbling on the controls to get the item I needed. At times, it was frustrating to only scroll in one direction to obtain the needed item. If I overshot the item, I would have to scroll through the belt until I go over the item again. What made it worse was you had to press the directional Up button on the controller for the upper belt and the directional down button for the lower belt. Imagine fighting for your life and having buff items that would make the fight easier while dodging their attacks. There were multiple times I found myself a little overwhelmed. I used the shortcut bar the most to get around the confusion.
One of the best things in Lies of P is its weapon system. The system alone distinguishes this game from many other soulslike games. Your weapon comes in two parts: the blade and the hilt. You can mix and match your weapons in any different way. Do you want to fight enemies with an axe mounted on a billy club handle? I do not know why you would, but you can most certainly do so. Several mixing and matching methods will allow you to fit your play style. Apart from the several combinations of weapons you can make, the system rewards your creations by giving special abilities like extra damage or other special abilities called fable arts. Depending on the kind of weapon you make, fable art can be made by the blade and a different one on the hilt. Usually, the blade gives you an offensive ability on enemies when you collect enough ergo energy (the fuel the puppets use to move around). The hilt fable arts are more defensive and may defend our counter better. Combinations are vast and plentiful in the weapons you decide to create. Even more surprising is that all the weapons made have particular animated actions. It does not feel that Neowiz cut corners with this system. I messed around for an hour to see the gains and weaknesses of my weapon creations and was amazed.
Lies of P mix their solid weapon-making system with a tremendous utility-making system. While you traverse the town of Krat, you are fighting fiends with your weapon in your right hand and using your left hand as a utility. Your left arm can be interchanged with several different arms. Each arm has a unique ability, like a grappling hook to bring puppets closer to you to kill or a projectile arm to take out long-range targets. There are several different arms to choose from, and one will complement your fighting style.
Lies of P’s fighting feel like a mix of Sekiro and Bloodborne rolled into one. Its fast-paced action forces you to be more offensive than a turtle-up defense. When an enemy attacks you, you can dodge, block, or parry depending on the situation. Blocking is fine, but it does not mitigate all of the incoming damage. Depending on what you are fighting, it may be better to dodge or parry because blocking could take a large chunk of stamina and a moderate amount of health. It is prevalent to learn to parry because you do not lose health. Also, parrying is the best way to defend yourself from unblockable attacks. I learned this the hard way, fighting some bosses on each level. There were multiple times I thought it was safe for me to block an incoming attack, but it was enough to take me out. When you finally get the eye on seeing incoming attacks to parry, you will become
The gameplay of Lies of P is a mixed bag. As a novice in playing soulslike games, I expected my initial run to be riddled with early deaths by doing incorrect things. To my surprise, it took a while for me to get stuck in a death loop. When I did, it was because of a boss battle. Lies of P mobs that roamed the streets gave me plentiful practice to hone my attacking, blocking, parrying, and dodging skills. When I faced mid-bosses, they were slightly more rigid. The mobs give the user a false sense of accomplishment until you face the stage boss. Reaching the boss took several tries, and eventually, I succeeded. The bosses felt a little one-dimensional during my 33 hours of playing Lies of P. Granted, I initially had trouble fighting the first couple of bosses. However, when I finally felt comfortable and understood the battle mechanics, the fights were not as bad. They were straightforward when it came to slaying them. My criticism would be if they could make the boss fights have some mechanics rather than just being a test your might checkpoint. Most of the boss’s choreographed attacks come from a mile away. The battles were still fun, and Lies of P made me more confident playing soulslike games.
Overall, I had a fun ride playing Lies of P. The game looks beautiful with its stage designs, has several good looks on the mobs, and from the most part, runs very stable as oppose to other games in its genre. Given that this game will not replace any FromSoftware Souls game, Lies of P does enough to have its own identity in an already filled soulslike genre. It is a good start, and I am wanting to see where Neowia will go in the future.
Lies of P Review
Lies of P Summary
Neowiz created something that was enjoyable to play for players who are curious in wanting to play soulslike game. Great battle mechanics, great character and mob designs, and music, I am looking forward seeing where this will go in the future.