App Reviewed on: iPhone SE
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Replay Value Rating:
Little Red Lie is a sort of adventure-game-meets-interactive-fiction experience that is definitely not for the faint of heart. It follows the stories of two separate, but equally depressing and horrible, stories of characters that lie constantly to those around them. Although there isn't much to the game besides reading through dialogue and text, Little Red Lie does a great job of keeping things interesting with its twisted characters and narrative.
Lie about everything
Little Red Lie bounces back and forth between two characters, Sarah Stone and Arthur Fox, both of whom find themselves on dark paths of self-destruction. Sarah is a middle-class woman who has consistently struggled to create a career for herself while her family falls further and further into debt, while Arthur Fox is an extremely affluent man who is bent on manipulating everyone around him to get himself whatever he wants.
Whenever playing either of these characters, your control over them is extremely limited. Scenes play out where you're tapping through dialogue most of the time, though there are occasional instances where you can move the characters around and select dialogue responses for them. These moments of control are a sort of bait-and-switch though, as you're always granted control to do one thing: lie. Every dialogue option you choose and every environmental puzzle you solve is an effort to deceive others around you, and you don't get much say in the matter.
Although the game's name may imply that the lies in Little Red Lie may be “little,” most of the time they're anything but. Without giving too much of the story away, there are times when you are tasked with lying about pretty major criminal acts and deceiving your own family members to justify your own actions. It's pretty despicable stuff.
This can occasionally make playing Little Red Lie feel uncomfortable, but the game manages to stay compelling through some extremely dark and terrible moments thanks to some incredible writing. Although the overall plot of the game takes some weird turns, the moment-to-moment dialogue is full of biting social commentary and provocative one-liners that may force you–the player–to reconsider some of your own beliefs and convictions.
The ugly truth
As strong as Little Red Lie's writing is, almost every other aspect of the game feels a bit lacking. The dialogue choices in the game are mostly completely arbitrary, and when given direct control of either Sarah or Arthur, you're met with some super simple adventure game-style puzzle-solving that uses some really loose and awkward swipe-based controls.
Little Red Lie is also not particularly conducive for on-the-go play, as you can't choose when to save your progress. The game does have an auto-save system but it only kicks in at pre-defined points of the game, and it doesn't happen quite as often as it should. As a result, you may find yourself replaying large chunks of Little Red Lie unless you're very careful about when you choose to stop playing the game between sessions.
The bottom line
As a game, Little Red Lie may not look or play like much, but as a piece of interactive fiction, it's intense, thought-provoking, and really well written. It's certainly worth seeing through to the end, even though that involves putting up with some sub-par gameplay.