Little Red Lie: A Depressing Yet Sincere Game About Wealth (REVIEW)
So Little Red Lie is an interesting game to say the least. It’s main focus is centered around how people deal with money, whether not having it or having plenty of it. If you’re familiar with the writer and developer, Will O’Neill’s previous title Actual Sunlight, you’ll know how bleak and brutally honest his writing can be. If you haven’t played Actual Sunlight, I suggest trying it out to get familiar with it, as it’s very similar. Is this game a hit or a miss? Let’s talk about it.
In Little Red Lie, you play as two main protagonists, Sarah Stone, a woman living with her parents who’s just lost her job, and Arthur Fox, a rich author that gives self-help seminars and does… other things. The character you start the game as, Sarah, is having quite the rough time having just lost her job and being heavily in debt, with both her and her sister stressing their parent’s bank account. Arthur is all the worst things you can think of in a businessman, rich, judgmental, sexist, and he beats off in bathrooms right before meetings. At times he can even be comic relief due to how real yet ridiculous he is, he kind of reminds me of an Always Sunny character. On one hand, you’ve got a degenerate rich slob, and on the other you’ve got an articulate, intelligent person who worked hard and actually deserved something in her life. Both characters are written very believably, especially since they have these inner monologues that gives us their viewpoint of what’s going on throughout each section. These monologues may be my favorite part of this game actually. They do a fantastic job of explaining who we’re playing as, which is a huge bonus over many story-driven games that just throw us in the shoes of a character we have to figure out.
You may be wondering why this game is called “Little Red Lie”, and that’s because both characters spend a lot of time lying to people. The action/interact button is literally called the lie button. Whether it’s Sarah telling her parents that she still has her job or Arthur telling people he’s glad to meet them, a good portion of the dialogue is read in red, the signifier for when your character is lying.
Sadly, you don’t get to control a lot of the dialogue that your character says, which took me a second to figure out since the game offers these options that appear in parentheses, which turned out to be what your character was thinking. Choosing what to think doesn’t affect what you say either. This is something that may turn some people off, the game is walking you through the narrative, your decisions and the dialogue you choose don’t really affect how the story plays out, which is what I usually assume will be the case in story-driven games with dialogue options. While I do excuse this due to how well it’s written, it is strange that the game gives you the impression of having control of the story by giving you these often meaningless choices in dialogue.
In the case of the overall story of this game, I loved it. This game is a great representation of things that are really happening right now, to a lot of people. I feel like a lot of the characters in this game have some sort of relatability that you may be able find in yourself or people around you. It also deals with a lot of heavy topics like debt, poverty, depression, addiction, things that not a lot of games would be able to handle properly, and I’m glad to say Little Red Lie delivers. The pacing is on point and it throws a fair amount of curveballs at you throughout, especially from the halfway point onward. The end being so exceptionally mind-bending that I had to take a walk afterwards to put into perspective what actually happened.
So what we have here is an excellently written, narrative-driven game that has a very relatable concept and handles these issues with a sense of grim sincerity. This definitely isn’t a heartwarming triumphant story that you’ll be smiling about, but I don’t think that was it’s intention. I very much enjoyed what I played and if this game sounds remotely interesting to you, I highly recommend buying it. For only $10 on Steam, I can definitely confirm it’s more than worth it. Have you already played it? Did you enjoy it? Let us know below. You can check out the trailer for the game below: