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Lethal Company: Literal Deadlines In Space

Lethal Company Steam banner
Lethal Company Steam banner

Horror content has had a surge in the recent months, with big franchise movies and new games being released every couple of weeks. One of these games, however, has been receiving a lot of attention lately. The premise caught my attention, so I gathered a couple friends and decided to dive into the latest horror-game sensation: “Lethal Company”.

In a nutshell, “Lethal Company” deals with a group of employees who go to abandoned moons to salvage scrap metal and items in order to sell them and meet a quota set by “The Company”. This simple job is not without risks, however, the moons are full of creepy crawlies and abominations waiting for any unsuspecting employee to have for lunch. (But do not worry, if someone dies they will respawn in the ship after it leaves the moon. You will be fined, though).

As if the chance of great bodily harm and/or death was not enough, employees also have a deadline of three days to meet the quota. Each time the quota is met, it increases, yet the deadline remains the same. If employees do not meet the quota in time, the deadline adopts a more literal meaning and the ship opens, ejecting all employees into space.

Employees do not receive any equipment to complete their task, so they have to manage their budget carefully in order to afford it. This would not be a problem if “The Company” was not stingy and paid employees fairly. Instead, employees can use money left over from the quota and what little they got from their paycheck to buy supplies and travel to moons.

Equipment available to employees are flashlights, melee weapons to defend themselves, walkie-talkies to talk from afar, and more quality-of-life tools to assist them.

All of these elements combine to create a gameplay loop only ended by failure to meet the quota. The added game mechanics, such as proximity voice chat and a helmet graphical user interface denoting the player’s stamina and health, enhance the experience greatly. They create a combination perfect for chaotic fun with friends and an interesting challenge when playing solo.

Of course, since Lethal Company is a horror game, all the game mechanics lead towards the players being scared. There are some main concepts it uses very well to stimulate fear, most notably: ambiguity.

The game makes sure its players know as little as possible at all times. Lethal Company uses a ‘retro’ art style, similar to that of PlayStation 1 and Nintendo 64 games, to feed the player minimal information on their surroundings. Combined with the dark, the player’s visibility is limited to just a few feet ahead of them.

Sound design is also a big part in keeping the player in the dark. Aside from the fact that there is proximity chat to immerse players in their role, the monsters have sound cues that adhere to a specific style rather than stay as a specific sound (with exception of unique enemies). This means multiple monsters can have similar cues, and the player will only know which one is after them once they’ve been spotted.

The game will also play ambient noises at random, like footsteps and low growls in the dark. They don’t serve a purpose other than to build up tension, but they do that very well.

Another game mechanic that limits the player’s ability to reach the quota is the day and night cycle. When players begin a round and land on a moon, the time starts at 8:00 am and progresses until midnight when the ship’s autopilot leaves due to dangerous conditions. This takes about 11 minutes, giving players a short amount of time to explore the moon completely and loot as much as possible. When the ship leaves, it goes into orbit and players can then select another moon to land on, where the time cycle is the same.

Players left behind are considered deceased.

Overall, Lethal Company is a fun experience, and after weeks of playing it both solo and with friends myself, I can recommend it without a shadow of a doubt. In my opinion, it is a solid 8/10 horror experience. There are a lot more details and hidden lore to be discussed, however, it is best to experience those yourself. The game is also still in the early-access phase, so there will be plenty of updates in the future with more story and gameplay relevant additions.

Final Rating: 8/10

Great multiplayer horror experience, cannot wait to see what awaits in future updates.

If you are interested in playing this game, visit its official STEAM page by clicking here.

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About the Contributor
Januel J Marquez
Januel J Marquez, Reporter
Januel is a junior and this is his first year on the Arrow staff. In his spare time, he plays video games with friends, draws, writes, and plays on his drum set. He also likes learning computer languages and modding old consoles to make emulators (like Nintendo DSi or PS Vita).

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