Telling Lies, by contrast, is but a second baby step into uncharted territory: a little wobbly, a little naive. But definitely courageous and exciting.
Sharp writing, believable acting and a twisting plot make Telling Lies an essential detective game.
An atmospheric, brilliantly written and acted detective thriller that tells a compelling story in a unique way.
Telling Lies is a paragon for storytelling, for character arcs that surprise you and linger on long after the credits – and videos – have ended.
Excellent acting from actors like Angela Sarafyan (Westworld) and Logan Marshall-Green (The Invitation) brings depth and realism to the characters and their stories
Telling Lies expands on the core ideas of Her Story with more expansive, nuance voyeurism, but it runs out of energy before the end.
It's crucial to slow down, take a breath, and watch everything, even when I want to rush through to find another clue. On the other hand, Telling Lies provides subtle reminders of the dangerous reality of rifling through stolen, encrypted files, and the level of secrecy required by that act. That tension helps the game crackle with life and urgency.
Telling Lies feels like it's about four times as big as Sam Barlow's previous game Her Story, and it shows. You feel it not just in the four characters you're sifting through footage of, but in the variety of its videos too: from FaceTime calls to hidden cameras capturing secretive meetings. In Her Story, it was famously easy to go down a rabbit hole of sorts on your own intuition; in Telling Lies, that tendency is mechanized in smart, intuitive ways. When it comes to good interactive mysteries, Telling Lies is among the best you can get.
Telling Lies is like the best parts of an adventure game, a mystery novel, and an art nouveau movie all rolled up into one.
I can't stress enough how much Telling Lies might not be for you. Most of it is literally spent watching people talk to a screen, to the point where the puzzle angle, no matter how impressive it might be, might wear down its welcome in minutes. For everyone else, especially avid followers of character-driven art forms, these are performances you can really sink your teeth into while you try to make sense of it all.
I won't tell any lies here, Telling Lies is another excellent piece of narrative game design from Sam Barlow and I sincerely hope there's more to come
Telling Lies expands on the concept Sam Barlow created with Her Story, with a web of intriguing characters and mysteries, but the more overblown aspects of its plot detract from the personal drama.
And while I can appreciate this new art form, this story wasn't quite as dramatic as I had hoped for, or at least the sequence in which I saw the events wasn't as satisfying. It's not as long as I thought it might be. With the pluses and minuses here, I see this as an evolving new medium but not one that has yet reached its highest form.
The question of whether Telling Lies is voyeuristic or not doesn’t necessarily have a bearing on the quality of the game — I do, in fact, think it’s good and enjoyed it. But the idea that it isn’t voyeuristic is some laugh.
Sam Barlow's BAFTA-snaffling Her Story was a fabulously tight and taut whodunwhat as you pieced together the tale of a mysterious young woman from a jumbled collection of police interview clips.
While untangling a web of lies players are tantalisingly close to the characters in this believable world created by Sam Barlow
Whether you call it an interactive movie game or desktop thriller, Telling Lies is a gratifying and authentic-feeling fly-on-the-wall experience. For the most part. Exceptional performances and an intriguing, topical story are undercut by a jarring gameplay choice that forces you out of the game when you least want it.
Without a sense of feedback or progress, the rambling, leisurely narrative of Telling Lies comes across as unfocused.
Telling Lies may borrow its core mechanic from Her Story, but shifting from monologues to two-sided conversations brilliantly expands the investigative gameplay, and a pivot from murder mystery to political thriller gives director Sam Barlow a much richer set of ideas to explore. A few storytelling hiccups and awkward edges do little to detract from a thought-provoking look at the modern surveillance state—delivered not through soapbox lecture but by forcing you, unsettlingly, to participate.
Telling Lies is an absolute masterpiece. It offers some brilliant writing and acting that drive us to passionately discover all of its secrets through its very simple but effective mechanics.
Review in French | Read full review