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Lethe: Episode one

Alaistair J D’Souza

When a game is tagged as ‘survival horror’, titles like Amnesia and Outlast come to mind immediately, so what makes Lethe different or in some cases similar to the games mentioned above?

Lethe is an indie horror, adventure and survival game that has been released by Koukou Studios and Faber Interactive. Being the developer’s first release is quite a decent looking product. Players assume the role of Robert Dawn, a journalist on a personal journey who hopes to find out about his past. Robert’s father recently passed away and left behind a few debts for the man to now clear, while clearing out his father’s belongings Robert discovers a letter that literally changes his life. With little to none information about his past Robert decides to visit the location from where the letter may have originated and during his journey by sea the boat has an incident, later on Robert finds himself on the shore of a small village that seems deserted at the time.

The story is told via notes that players will find during the course of play. This method encourages exploration by default. Like other survival horror games, Robert has no weapons to defend himself against the enemies or monsters that appear in the village. This results in some intense chase scenes as the only viable defence is to run away from the monster. Sometime later, Robert gains telekinetic powers, unfortunately for some reason they do not work against the monsters to its back to running as usual. One might question of what use are the telekinetic powers then? The answer is puzzle solving. Speaking of puzzle solving, there isn’t much of a challenge but then again the game isn’t named ‘The Great puzzle solving attempts of Robert Dawn’. The story isn’t unique but manages to keep players interested enough to find out what’s going on in Robert’s life.

A great amount of detail and time has been spent on graphics. The game plays out in a first person narrative, it is 2016 and it’s still annoying to watch boxes and other perishable items in a game just magically fall apart as a first person player gets close to them. Lighting in the game is quite pleasing and just makes the whole horror experience way better. Sounds and sometimes lack of such goes well the whole grim and scary atmosphere of the village. There are audio cues that inform players about an impending challenge or incoming monster(s).

Lethe is not a huge game to begin with and can be completed in about 4 to 5 hours if one rushes through the game to get to the end, give and take about 8 to 10 hours if every nook and corner is explored. The game is available for digital download via the Steam store for `549 and is currently on sale till August 8, 2016. I’d rate this game about 4.5/10 with emphasis on it not being too over ambitious and delivering on what it promised with certain degree of flair.

@ – alyenator@gmail.com

Title: Lethe Episode One

Genre: Action, adventure and survival horror

Developer:  Koukou Studios and Faber Interactive

Release date: 1 August 2016

Recommended system requirements

CPU: Any 3GHZ + Quad Processor

RAM: 4GB

GPU: Any GPU with at least 2MB Virtual RAM and Shader Model 4.0

DirectX: Direct X 9.0c

HDD space: 2GB