When the operator of a lighthouse on an isolated island suddenly disappears, you’re the one chosen to replace him.
It’s an easy job, really. Every day, you just need to make sure that the light has fuel, that it rotates, and that it’s clean. Everything you need is on the island, too. We rather like the sound of it, really. The isolation, though, may not be everyone’s cup of tea. In fact, it can drive some people mad. And so days into No One Lives Under the Lighthouse, when the weird things start to add up, you’ll be asking yourself: is there really something up with this island, or are you just going mad?
A slow burn horror game with a retro aesthetic, it’s safe to say that No One Lives Under the Lighthouse won’t be for everyone. There are the visuals for one, which really are old-school. Unless you grew up with games looking like this, it might be a hard pill to swallow. We like that there are various options to tweak how the game looks though. With a combination of filters applied, we ended up playing No One Lives Under a Lighthouse as if we were watching the events live via a camera, adding to the immersion.
The mundane tasks you need to perform in the first half of the game might not win some players over, either. There’s only so many times you can pick up a canister, fill it with oil and then pour it into the tank at the top of the lighthouse before it becomes a little dull. That’s the point, of course, but still. Those with patience and perseverance and who throw themselves into their new job with enthusiasm, however, will find their efforts rewarded.
First you might be creeped out by the oil stains that keep appearing around the island. Then there are the strange noises. Little by little, things begin to add up. And then it goes from bad to worse. In the second half of No One Lives Under the Lighthouse, things truly do get hellish. You’ll be pursued by something that is incredibly grotesque, and explore environments that surely can’t exist on the island… surely? It’s a rollercoaster ride filled with puzzles, a bit of adventure and a whole lot of atmosphere.
While the atmosphere of No One Lives Under the Lighthouse is undoubtedly its strong point, its puzzles are pretty close behind. They can be a bit obscure and pedantic at times, though. One scene, for example, requires you to tidy up a ransacked room before you can progress. It’s not entirely clear that’s the case, and it’s easy to miss one of the small items on the floor, leaving you stuck for a short while until you realise.
A single playthrough of No One Lives Under the Lighthouse is only likely to take you a couple of hours. That makes it the perfect game to play on a stormy evening when you’re on your own. Chances are you might return to it if you like it as well – there are three endings to discover to provide even more of an incentive.
No One Lives Under the Lighthouse is a game that horror fans should definitely check out, especially if the retro aesthetic appeals to them. It’s pretty impressive that, with such understated visuals and no voiced dialogue, a game can create such an atmosphere. And as the days go by and the horror cranks up, you’re not only kept on your toes, but also the edge of your seat.