App Army Assemble: Lovecraft Untold Stories - Is it a tale worth telling?

We ask the App Army

App Army Assemble: Lovecraft Untold Stories - Is it a tale worth telling?

Lovecraft Untold Stories is a rogue-lite action RPG that sees you take on a plethora of Old Gods and hideous monsters from the Mythos. 

We asked our App Army to give us their thoughts. Did it drive them to insanity in the right way? Let's find out. 

Mark Abukoff

This game looks really good. The music and sound effects are creepy and definitely set the mood. I’m not a huge fan of the everything-pixelated genre, but this game presents itself well in sound and graphics. The onscreen text, however, was very hard to read on my iPhone screen. And within a minute of starting, I was searching YouTube for videos to figure out how to get past an obstacle.

It’s not that the game is difficult or terribly complicated, but in my case, yeah, I needed to be told that I could roll to get past a branch so I could get into the house. The game could very well do with a simple tutorial that at least guides you into the house so you can get a taste of the experience. And, quite frankly, once you get into the house, there isn’t much to get excited about. A lot of looking around. Open a few things, shoot a few bad guys. Waste time on empty rooms. And so on and so forth. Good potential but overall disappointing.

Oksana Ryan

I didn’t really enjoy playing this game. From the very beginning I found myself wandering around trying to find a way into the mansion and once I got into the game proper, there was more aimless wandering from one room to the next with little excitement to spur me on.
A lot of the rooms had little to no content or purpose to them except to go through to another room, and when I did encounter enemies they weren’t a real challenge and I quickly got bored.

The game, in general, was dark and gloomy, which fitted the theme of the game, the music was atmospheric but I found the controls hard to master from the start. The description seems to offer everything you need in a great game but sadly it didn’t deliver for me. More content, please.


Quincy Jones

The Good: The game allowed me to continue on any device which is a high selling point for me. If you’re a fan of Lovecraft you’ll get a kick out of the short text from messages scattered around the game. The pixilated graphics aren’t bad at all and add a nice dark feel to the game. There's an Epic scene of blowing your brains out when you eventually go insane.

The Bad: I struggled a lot on my phone with the controls and sometimes seeing things clearly, Spending 10-15 minutes trying to figure out how to get to the house because I didn’t know I had to roll past trees. Things got repetitive fast and once I got that police shotgun it was easy to lay enemies out quickly

Still, not a bad game and I did enjoy bits of it for sure but after the first two levels, I stopped before using the shotgun on myself.

Paul Manchester

After struggling for the first 10 minutes with the controls I ventured onwards eagerly anticipating a reward for my efforts. However, it quickly became apparent the controls were the least of my worries.

Visually I found the game pretty poor and hadn’t ported well from PC. The text strained my eyes and I eventually gave it all up as a bad job. The gameplay was bland and uninspiring, especially when combined with the poor virtual keys.
Can’t recommend this and certainly not at the high entry price.

Ed Davis

I have very mixed feelings about this game. The visuals and sound effects are great and add to the atmosphere of the game. The text is way too small for an iPhone so bring your glasses! The storyline though isn’t particularly engaging. I found it a bit too slow going.
The puzzles aren’t particularly challenging and I ended up having to retrace my steps on numerous points to find a small clue to proceed to the next part of the game; this became very monotonous and almost stopped the enjoyment for the game.

The controls aren’t too bad but do take some getting used to. A wireless controller would be better suited.

Patrick Garlotte

This game has a nice looking pixel art style. It is unique without being too stylized so it isn't hard to tell what everything is. The game has virtual dual-analogue stick controls which can be a bit unwieldy, but once I got the hang of it there was an interesting mix of genres underneath the surface. There are RPG and adventure game elements. It has an interesting combination of genres that merge together well.

Jc Ga

The atmosphere, the music and the graphics are successful ... for those who appreciate pixelated 3D. The inventory system reminded me of hack'n' slash habits. The difficulty seems to be quite amazing: I played in the normal mode, the first two chapters are very easy, and the third was surprisingly difficult for no reason except the gameplay.

I played with the tactile controls, and they are not very responsive, and the pixelated worldview obscures the pitfalls on the ground or even enemies when there's blood everywhere. But the real problem is that the game seemed so repetitive! Fighting can be as simple as keeping a careful distance while shooting at the enemies.

it is not very passionate; about the narrative episodes scattered within the rooms, they are atmospheric but rather simple for the gameplay they offer - "do you want to watch this horrible thing, or not?" - and why not read directly Lovecraft in the text instead of looking for these short ones in this game?

Finally, playing this game made me think of playing Binding of Isaac if this beautiful game had no items: what interest would it have then? I think this game has many qualities, but it lacks the touch of genius that shines in the eyes of the player, or rather in this case that obscures his mind!

Karl Nuattall

Playing this on iPhone XR. First thing that I liked was the pixel graphics. Started playing you pick a character the first one available is a detective, more characters will become available when you meet them. The controls are good and very responsive one is to move the character and the other is to fire your weapon which seems to be unlimited ammo.

There are 2 other buttons an action one and a forward roll. It took me a bit to get the gist of the action buttons and when to press them - I kept moving away from the action part. The intro to the game gives an overview of ten controls which I think I originally rushed through, my bad.

You are exploring a house on the 1st level looking for clues to the mystery telegram you received. I found it very entertaining and was quarter of the way through the first map in what seemed no time at all not a complaint but was quite engrossed in it and didn’t realise the time had flown by. The game of fins is difficult but not in a bad way but want to get further into it I do wish the gun was a bit more accurate found myself missing the target while stood in front of it. I did find after a bit some of the screens were a bit repetitive. Overall I would recommend it though.


Andrés Youlton

Blinis Games brings us an action game with some RPG elements in an adorable 2D pixel art. In my opinion, which may be biased as I’m a sucker for 2D pixel art, this is a beautiful game, where the shapes are not lost despite the pixel style.

Starting with the basics, this is a two-stick shooter, which usually go very well on mobile, and this isn’t an exception for this game, in a genre that could be defined as action-terror. It follows the stories from H.P. Lovecraft, in a series of random generated levels that can be completed with five different characters, each with different play styles.

In general, the game is very good, with a lot to explore, many items to collect, and enemies to kill. Even though the game seems to lack story, and have a weird difficulty curve, as the first chapters are very easy, but then it takes a steep change in terms of difficulty. And as is it a port from the PC game, some things aren’t fixed yet. For example, when they show you the tutorial, they tell you that you can use the keyboard and mouse.

In conclusion, this is an interesting and, in general, well-done game, but my recommendation would be that you download the lite version to see if you like it, as the complete game comes with a hefty $9.99 price tag.

Michael Purdy

I like the atmosphere and graphics. Great gothic style. What I didn’t like is that the controls felt slippery. Not sure why, but it didn’t feel right. The gameplay is fun but it was always clear what to do. I do look forward to playing more of it.

Roman Valerio

The brief yet tempting image of Blini on the loading screen was probably meant as a sign of good things to come, but for me, LUS turned out to be relatively plain food having nothing in common with that highly coveted Russian delicacy.

First of all, the game takes up a jaw-dropping 1.65 GB of hard drive space, which came as a shocking surprise, considering its heavily pixelated look and the fact that my primary gaming device has got just 32 gigs of storage. Being a person, for whom attention to detail is paramount, I was not appreciative of coming across such purely PC terms and expressions as "press any key to continue", "keyboard, gamepad and mouse", which combined with several crashes to the home screen during my initial playing session dating back to a couple of weeks ago is absolutely unacceptable for a game with a 10$ price tag.

However, my main complaint is the gameplay itself, which absolutely failed the task of reeling me in with its utterly boring exploration "ingredient" and very little action in-between. Besides all that, the controls appeared to be somewhat fiddly with an unorthodox button layout, which certainly takes some time to get used to. If you are not deterred by everything that was said above and are willing to plunge into a game with a macabre atmosphere and pitch-black colour scheme, then give LUS a try. As for me, I am craving those caviar blini now.


Dries Pretorius

I really love H.P. Lovecraft, and I really wanted to like LUS, and for the most part, I really did. It is atmospheric and charming. It is full of references to Lovecraftian Lore, while by no means a strong twin-stick shooter its strength rests in the sincerity with which it pays homage to the universe it occupies.

The highest achievement on a mechanical level is the level design choice to place hazards in the environment, thus the outgun and outrun routine requires you to navigate acid puddles and spike traps, a satisfying element.

To demonstrate the power of its charm, I played the game up to chapter 3, where the game completely destabilized on my 1GB iPad Air, in my frustration I deleted it. For the next day, I thought about the game quite a bit, good points and bad, after which I reinstalled it and played all the way to Chapter 3 a second time.

Here I began figuring out what caused the crashes, it turned out that, among other things, too many enemies on screen would cause the game to crash. I spent 2 hours and more than a dozen crashes mapping out the big boss room, stocking up on powerful bombs that kill-all-enemies-on-screen (see: Prevents game from crashing during boss fight) after this frustrating experience, chapter 4 was just as unstable, so I deleted the game for good, it is simply unplayable on 1GB devices in its current state.

Apart from being unplayable on 1GB devices, the random level design is not really all that, the map design consists of rooms with two to four doors leading to random other rooms, in the mix every time, are the same important rooms. In my two playthroughs, I hardly noticed the randomization at all, because the variation is so superficial that it only affects the dimensions you don’t remember. The Aesthetic, randomization, combat mechanics, pixel art, lighting, and levelling are all done far better in Wayward Souls, the Lovecraftian chaotic monster-slaying action is done better in Tesla V. Lovecraft, the roguelike room to room system is done better in The Binding of Isaac.

While there is not a single dimension wherein LUS is technically or mechanically exceptional, the sum of its parts is a charming game. I had fun playing it, I hope the developer optimizes it for 1GB devices so I can finish it.

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Stephen Gregson-Wood
Stephen Gregson-Wood
Stephen brings both a love of games and a very formal-sounding journalism qualification to the Pocket Gamer team.