When a new genre hits the streets, you’re bound to see some hot takes about it. The only thing worse than the “git gud” Souls game crowd might be the “I refuse to git gud, and you’re a monster for saying I should!” crowd. The two deserve each other, really, and if they’re busy yelling at each other it’s easy to ignore them both and focus on enjoying some games. That’s fortunate, too, as there’s been a lot of enjoyable games lately.
Take Lies of P, for instance, takes the punishing template of Dark Souls and Elden Ring and translates it into a dark fantasy version of the classic story of Pinocchio. Yes, it’s Pinocchio Souls. That’s a game that exists now.
The city of Krat is the center of innovation throughout the world! Thanks to the discovery and implementation of the energy source Ergo, technology has risen to levels previously unimaginable. Every convenience is available to the citizen of Krat, including the automated puppet, a robotic servant that can cook, clean, stand guard…or, well, go crazy and start killing everyone.
There’s been a lot of that happening lately. So much so, in fact, that it’s now known as the Puppet Frenzy. As a mysterious puppet who’s awakened by a blue fairy, your job is to defeat the puppets, rescue survivors, save the city, and always tell the truth. After all, everyone “nose” puppets can’t lie, right?
Lies of P is one of them Soulslikes, which I guess is what we’re calling them these days, and that means it’s a precision-focused action-RPG built around learning from failure and improving over time. Gepetto’s puppet, or P, is armed with a pair of weapons, a customizable bionic arm and an array of amulets, armor and customizable clothing. Thus equipped, you’ll explore Krat and see if you can figure out what’s caused the Puppet Frenzy and how to stop it.
This game has drawn plenty of comparisons to From Software’s beloved Victorian-era Soulslike Bloodborne, and it’s easy to see why. The urban setting, Gothic horror elements and speedy combat all make it clear that Lies of P is a close cousin. P quickly shifts around in combat, able to get in and out in a flash, and this encourages aggressive attacks. There’s even some gameplay nods, like P’s ability to regain temporary health lost while blocking.
Lies of P mixes things up a bit, though, by focusing far more on timed parries rather than blocks. If P blocks an attack at just the right moment, he doesn’t take temporary health damage at all – rather, the enemy’s weapon is damaged, and doing this enough can break their weapon and leave them open for a devastating counterattack. The overall feel comes off as closer to Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty, and that’s not an unflattering comparison by any means.
Your opponents won’t be holding anything back, naturally. As with any game in this genre, Lies of P lives and dies on its boss fights, and fortunately most of the bosses here are incredible. There’s a bit of an emphasis on dual-phase bosses such that it stops being a surprise when the baddy yet again transforms halfway through the fight, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s tough to mention specific highlights without spoilers, but suffice to say there’s some memorable encounters that are bound to influence future Soulsy games.
One innovative quirk that sets Lies of P apart from its contemporaries is the ability to assemble your own weapons. Your armaments are built from a blade and handle and, outside of some special exceptions, these can be mixed and matched to your liking. Is your sword too short and it’s getting you down? Slap it on a spear handle instead! Greatsword a little too slow? Try sticking it on a scimitar hilt and enjoy both wide-ranged attacks and a little more speed! This also allows you to combine your components’ Fable attacks, special abilities that drain a regenerating power gauge to deal bonus damage.
If that’s not enough, the aforementioned bionic arm is bound to do it for you. There’s a fair number of these, nearly all of them upgradable, and they’ve got a variety of effects to help you mix up your attacks. From a flamethrower to deployable mines and more, the possibilities are vast. You’re bound to be able to come up with a build that really suits your playstyle.
Lies of P really leans on its atmosphere and setting, so it’s good that Krat looks as nice as it does. Whether you’re playing on console or PC, you’re going to have a spiffy and smooth experience. Areas look spooky, bosses look menacing and you generally won’t have to worry about everything slowing to a crawl. A solid PC with a controller continues to be the best way to experience games like this, but Lies of P is no slouch on Xbox Series X either.
Lies of P is a tough game. You’ll probably die a lot, and it might be frustrating for unsuspecting players expecting another visit to Pinocchio land. Stalwarts won’t be surprised, given its similarities to the Dark Souls / Elden Ring zeitgeist. But like those games, Lies of P has much to offer, if you’re patient. Slap a weapon together, strap on your favorite arm and come have a stay in Krat. You won’t regret it.