Lust From Beyond Beta Impressions: Bigger, Squishier, Sexier
Erotic horror as its own legitimate sub-genre was just clearing its throat last year through a handful of releases from brand new developers, and now its getting ready for a full-blast operatic encore with Lust From Beyond.
Production is now well underway for the sequel to Lust For Darkness, which came out around the same time as alternate sexy horror game Agony (and in fact can be bought together in the Lust For Agony combo at Steam).
With the successful funding of a Kickstarter campaign to fund the title, Movie Games Lunarium just dropped a 40 minute demo of what to expect when the full game arrives down the line. Long story short, I'm both pleased and horrified at what's in store for the series, and I expect that's exactly what the developer had in mind!
Ramping Up The Sex... Or Toning It Down
I have to admit I let out an involuntary laugh when first loading up the demo at the absurd hilarity of the censorship option screen. In what universe would I ever buy a game called Lust For Beyond and then choose to turn off the naughty jibbly bits with pixelation? It seems completely at odds with the entire point of the game.
If you're here for the naughty stuff, you won't be disappointed. That infamous dildo pumping machine makes a return, but there's a variety of whole new objects and creatures to take the sexual element of the game to the next level.
In fact the (potential) reason for the censorship option becomes apparent very quickly. I'm betting that's there specifically to skirt Steam's puritanical views on sexual content in games, because this one has full on vaginal penetration from a variety of organs and devices.
Hopefully that will be enough to avoid getting yanked off Steam, because many of the things you'll see here go way, way beyond what was in the first game.
While we didn't get to see it in action in the demo, a crowd funding stretch goal for interactive sex scenes has been unlocked, which could significantly change up how the game plays.
Depending on how far Movie Games Lunarium goes with the interactive concept, we could get something that's half 3D hentai game and half psychological survival horror entry.
Improvements To The Formula
The demo features a short, self-contained story in the overall Lust universe letting you play as a newer initiate in the cult who has abandoned his family for the lure of a life of ecstasy.
It isn't entirely clear if this opening sequence will be in the full game or if it was exclusively made for the demo, but either way there are some very clear improvements to the first game that become immediately apparent.
Notably, it seems clear we are going to get updated sanity and health mechanics based on some of the items you find laying around the mansion. In the previous game you could go stark raving mad if you wore a spider mask for peering into the unseen for too long, but that was the extent of the going-crazy mechanic.
This time around being in contact with any sanity-blasting creatures, locations, or concepts makes your brain take a hit, but you can temporarily get yourself back into working order by popping some sedatives.
Extra quality of life improvements see the game going from the "walking simulator" type of horror to a more full investigative game experience with better puzzles.
Thankfully, we get an actual item inventory system this time around for using and cataloging bizarre items you find, in addition to significantly enhanced sound, music, and voice acting for a more immersive experience.
Those wonderfully gross squishy sound effects when traversing the flesh tunnels give off exactly the disturbing sort of vibe you want while playing the game in the dark with headphones turned up to max volume. At one point, I actually felt *moist* while exploring one particular area of Lusst'ghaa. The sound design is very effective.
Even the Lust Plane's pulsating lights manage to have an erotic vibe, while also bringing to mind the aesthetic from Hellraiser whenever the cenobites made an appearance mashed up with the ship design from Aliens.
The end result of this updated aesthetic is a very unsettling sensation wherever you look when exploring the plane of erotic horrors (and trying not to get messily devoured or horribly penetrated).
Expansions And Upgrades
Aside from the updated sanity, health, and inventory UI, the one element that struck me as most improved here is how Lust From Beyond integrates the truly weird shit from the environments into the gameplay more effectively.
In the demo, Lusst'ghaa channels some serious Inner Chains vibe with a more Geiger heavy influence and lethal flora hampering your journey.
Those pulsating pelvic walls, giant vaginal statues, and insane flora and fauna all serve more of a purpose than just to be gawked at while you wander around. Simply put, the setting is less window dressing and more gameplay-focused this time.
One segment of the demo that's particularly effective in evoking the weirdness of the setting is when your initiate cultist has to set a bizarre flying and glowing centipede creature out of its flesh prison. From there, you've got to follow close behind it as the insane thing's glow makes the tongue flowers shrink away so they no longer lash you to death.
What we're seeing here is clearly just a small taste of what's to come as well, with the developers announcing we'll be leaving the mansion and the alternative plane segments behind and heading into a nearby town at some point during the game.
Two Heads Are Better Than One
Having only played a 40 minute teaser, its hard to say what the full game will be like after development is complete, but this advanced look is already significantly improved from its predecessor.
Its clear that the ending from the first game (which I wasn't particularly impressed with) will now be expanded out significantly with the return of Amanda and some possibly world-changing consequences.
Currently at more than its double its funding goal, the Kickstarter is still live and has some exciting stretch goals to hit, like the ability to interact with a rival cult. While it hasn't been officially announced yet, VR support is rumored to be one of the unlisted stretch goals to appear after the $50,000 mark.
Sadly it seems unlikely that a game with this amount of sexual content will ever hit the PSVR, but having a VR option for PC would hugely open up the opportunities for this series in the future.
Kickstarter currently lists an estimated digital key delivery of March 2020 for backers. Of course all know those crowd funding release projections are almost always wrong, but with how polished the demo is already looking, I wouldn't be surprised if this one hits that window.
Whenever it arrives, Lust From Beyond is certain to take the gameplay mechanics, psychological horror style, and disturbing visuals from the first game and catapult them to a whole new level of sexed up terror that will set the standard for this fledgling genre just hitting the mainstream consciousness through Steam.