I don't believe I've beaten the demo yet, but I put about an hour and a half into playing it last night. Before getting fully into my review of Lunacy: St. Rhodes, I want to say that this is an excellent little horror piece that deserves all the praise. I have been looking for something new to genuinely creep me out, and after countless duds, this game truly gave me goosebumps while playing, and made me shout countless expletives while streaming it. Overall, I would give this demo a solid 7.5 / 10. Here is the VOD from my Twitch stream of it.
So, on to a more in depth reason for my 7.5 / 10 rating.
First, the good things about this game. The atmosphere and attention to detail is astounding. I appreciate how there are obvious attempts to use something other than the basic and free assets available for Unity, and some real artistic liberty seems to have been taken in designing this house. The textures are buttery smooth, the lighting effects are spot on, and the overall layout of the house is both intuitive and challenging at the same time. Sound design here is also beautiful. The sounds of the storm act wonderfully to create a nice, eerie backdrop to the whole thing unfolding, while the random thunder and lightning does a great job at providing extra little jumps. While being chased by the demon, the way the audio distorts is quite nice, albeit a little stereotypical for the genre. And finally, the voice acting is wonderful. I understand that it's mainly just a bunch of moaning and screaming, but the way it is implemented does truly shock and horrify. Finally, it seems that there is a bit of randomization on the placement of the keys and notes upon multiple plays, which I think is nice. It prevents anyone from speedrunning the demo, and allows all of the scares to still make their appearances.
I wanted to make this part a separate thing, and that is the character modeling. I quite like the way that the demon is designed. This lurking shadow figure with two small white eyes that has a bellowing scream, lets just say I let out a vulgar shout the first time I saw it. On top of this, I appreciated the (what I am assuming are) nods to games like P.T. and the RE7 demo. The mannequin sequence caused a whole lot of "nopes" from me.
On to the unfortunate aspects of the demo. While I realize this is early access, I did not include the multiple game-crashes during my playthrough into the overall rating. But those crashes were frustrating and did seem to break the immersion at times. What I really just did not like about the demo was the motion blur and seemingly exaggerated "walking camera movement." I don't think that the camera moving in sync with the character's walking is a bad thing, I just feel it can be downplayed a bit, because it's rather disorienting while running. But that motion blur, it not only caused me some discomfort while playing, but also caused my viewers to click away from the stream at times where I was just exploring the house. I think the blur is a nice effect for sequences when you're being chased, for it adds a bit more disorientation to the game, but as a constant, it just gets stale and frustrating. Not as important, but still could be addressed, are the hit boxes for the interactions seem so small, that there were times I spent far too long moving and re-positioning in order to simply open a drawer or grab a key. Finally, I felt as though the game was almost TOO dark, visually. Either the flashlight needs a bit of an upgrade, or the overall gamma needs to be, at the very least, adjustable. The textures and visuals in this game are so beautiful, but a lot is lost to the excessive darkness. I don't think this should be a game with bright light by any means, but just a little extra visibility would be excellent.
This demo is incredible. Genuinely terrifying, the jumpscares are crafted and spaced apart expertly, and I truly cannot wait to play more of this, if there is a "full" version on the horizon. Apologies for the lengthy review, but I wanted to do my part to help the devs considering they are giving away such a well crafted and enjoyable experience. Excellent work, LunaSouls.