Game Review: Lies of P – Tell me sweet little robot lies

By Dave Jamieson
By September 13, 2023 Game, Reviews

Lies of P is a soulslike game based on classic children’s story Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi. However, this version of the tale features a lot more death, destruction and epic boss fights.

Forget everything you know about Pinocchio when you begin playing Lies of P, although interestingly, this videogame adaptation of the story at times bears more of a resemblance to the tone of the original book than Disney’s cartoon ever did. It is, however, the first one to ever feature a robot uprising. 

Players assume the role of P, or Pinocchio, as he wakes up in a city torn apart by war between man and machines. He’s soon greeted by his AI guide, Gemini, (see what they did there?) picks up a sword, and begins fighting his way through the streets of Krat to rescue his creator and father figure, Geppetto. 

The inventor has made puppets to serve mankind, never harm humans, and never lie. However, they’ve gone haywire for some reason and have begun to disobey and attack their masters. Interestingly though, even the hostile puppets are still unable to lie. That’s what makes Pinocchio unique, as he has developed the ability to lie, and can use selective honesty in his quest to give himself an advantage. However, directing Pinocchio to lie or telling the truth may have implications – this time not connected to his nose.

As far as gameplay goes, Lies of P is a soulslike, so if you’ve played any of From Software’s games you’ll know what you’re getting yourself into. The game feels a lot like Bloodborne at times, but sadly its atmosphere never quite matches up to FromSoft’s Lovecraftian nightmare, feeling a bit generic and lifeless at times. Locations try hard to be creepy, but rarely pull it off. 

The good news is that combat is stellar and improves as the game goes on. You’ll be able to craft a build based on the current soulslike templates, but Lies of P also introduces the Steel Arm, a secondary weapon that helps the game stand apart from other soulslike games in the genre. This essentially lets you use various special attacks alongside your regular weapon to create your own custom version of Pinocchio in battle. You can also change the Steel Arm to make it more suited to the boss you’re facing.

Speaking of boss fights, like any other soulslike adventure, these gargantuan enemies are what Lies of P is all about, with each boss fight requiring a different strategy to defeat. Some bosses are weak against certain elements, and it’s fun to work out what each enemy’s thumbscrew is. However, it can also be frustrating, but rest assured, every boss has a weakness that can be exploited. While the bosses aren’t always that imaginative when compared with FromSoft’s games, mostly all being big evil puppets, they’re still a blast to fight.

Lies of P doesn’t have an easy mode, but players can summon AI/NPC companions to help them in battle if they’re struggling. Summoning these allies takes a certain (finite) item to be used before the battle begins, but certainly makes life easier. While these NPC allies won’t win the fight for you, they’ll split the boss’s attention between you, allowing you to score some extra hits before your AI buddy – which they usually do when a boss reaches their second, more difficult phase. 

This option isn’t available for the first boss in Lies of P. What’s worse, is that the game won’t let you level up past a certain point until this enemy is defeated. So consider the first boss to be a trial by fire. However, we discovered this boss has an elemental weakness and once discovered, most players will be able to end him. 

Enemy variety also isn’t brilliant, while they’re are lots of nasty puppets to take down, it often feels more satisfying to kill the human enemies that sometimes appear. This sounds rather sadistic of us, but you’ll understand what we mean when you play. Luckily, combat makes up for this by being addictive, creative and highly customisable. There are tons of options when it comes to weapons too, so go nuts. 

Unlike games like Elden Ring which took an open world approach to soulslike gaming, Lies of P opts for a more curated, interconnected world, a lot like the original Dark Souls and Bloodborne. This will feel like a backstep to some players, or a return to a classic formula to others. It all depends on your perspective. 

To conclude, Lies of P is a creative combination of the Pinocchio story combined with the classic troupes of a robot uprising game – and they weirdly fit together very well. Many elements of the classic story are here, but we won’t tell you here if Pinocchio manages to become a real boy or not, in truth, he’s got more pressing concerns this time around. 

Those who’ve always wanted to give soulslike games a try may find Lies of P to be a nice starting point, and those who’re looking for more soulslike goodness while they wait for From Software’s next offering may also find a lot to love. The game won’t be for everyone, and improves as it reveals more and more of its mechanics. Although, while Lies of P is a slowburner, we promise you’ll it’s a scorcher by the end.