Plenty of video games are based on unexpected things. From bug-catching inspiring Pokémon to the 2010’s Enslaved: Odyssey to the West’s take on the Chinese epic A Journey to the West, anything could be a video game. Yet a Soulsl-like inspired by Pinocchio, the premise of 2023’s Lies of P, still feels uniquely silly. While the game manages to pull this off, nothing will prepare players for the game’s even more absurd post-credits scene. But it all works.
The second Lies of P was revealed to the world, it became the butt of a million jokes. It was an easy mark. “Developers will just make anything a Souls-like nowadays,” and, “Oh no, they made Pinocchio hot,” were two common examples of how people talked about the game before its release. Now that Lies of P is out, many have been shocked to discover that the dark take on Pinocchio manages to be one of the best non-FromSoftware Souls-likes ever made.
While Lies of P effectively imitates much of FromSoftware’s formula, it also adds interesting mechanical twists. The ability to mix and match weapon components is a shining example, and the use of Pinocchio's mechanical left arm feels like a more fleshed-out version of Sekiro’s left arm gadgets.
Narratively, Lies of P offers a gritty take on the fairytale on which it is based, so players can expect to meet the likes of Geppetto and the Blue Fairy and travel to locations such as the Land of Toys. Instead of feeling silly, Lies of P’s world feels intriguingly dark and full of potential. That’s because developer Round8 Studio commits completely to the premise and never thinks of the world as anything less than totally serious.
As the game continuously treats its premise with the utmost respect, the player can’t help but learn to feel the same. Before you know it, you are taking the handsome and mysterious Pinocchio just as seriously as the rest of the characters in Lies of P. Eventually, nothing feels out of the ordinary at all.
Then, after the game’s credits roll, Lies of P upends the player’s expectations one final time in the most bizarre fashion possible.
[Spoilers for the post-credits scene of Lies of P]
The game’s last cutscene shows a man in a train car discussing the “Krat experiment” and the possibility that Pinocchio holds a key to eternal life. But he adds that there are other keys out there. This mystery man is on his way to search for the next one, a woman named Dorothy. The camera pans to his table, which holds a copy of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Next, we see a woman with red shoes walk across the rooftops of Krat. She stops and clicks her heel three times and the camera cuts to black.
Dorothy Gale is going to be in the sequel to Lies of P.
That, in theory, isn’t any wilder than the fact that the game is based on Pinocchio, but this unexpected post-credits scene sets the stage for this series to go in any number of directions thanks to the wealth of characters and settings available in the public domain.
Dorothy’s appearance is the equivalent of Nick Fury showing up at the end of Iron Man and signals Round8’s intent for its games to become bigger and better. But instead of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this is the... old books universe?
It makes the player jump past Dorothy and start theorizing what more could show up. Beauty and the Beast, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and Peter Pan are all fair game — and every one of them has the potential to be just as wonderfully good as Lies of P. It shouldn’t work! But Lies of P shouldn’t have worked either.