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Telling Lies review
by Julien Kaspar

In Short:
Telling Lies is a fascinating example on how clever game mechanics & storytelling can elevate a regular thriller story into something special. If you are looking for the next unique game experience then play this game!

In Long:
I think it's best to know very little of the story before going into the game so I'll mostly talk about everything else.
But to quickly mention the story - it's good. The acting is great (at least from the main 4 characters), the cast pretty huge, and it offers enough to keep you guessing on what's going to happen next, or if you already found out, how it all went down.

This leads me to the gameplay. You are essentially going to watch the entire story out of sequence with you trying to piece together everything yourself. This essentially makes it a puzzle game more than anything else and even though it doesn't offer much in terms of gameplay, what's there is absolutely crucial to the game and its story!
You are given very little information with each clip with a few lies, secrets & red herrings to keep the story twisting & turning.
This is also due to each clip only having the audio input and is therefore often missing the other side of the conversation.
It's is genius!
Sometimes you will find the other side of a dialogue way later and it will re-contextualise the situation & relationships. It also makes for an interesting treasure hunt in the dialogue by trying to search for a question or response to find the opposite clip of the conversation.
Reading the characters & the environment can also help you spot important information & expose lies.
This game is very much testing your observation skills but is also purely fuelled by your own curiosity since the game lacks any real objectives.  
It also has a very natural difficulty curve due to its search engine. Whatever term you search for, it will only give you the first 5 results, usually relative to the recording date. So it's very easy to find the earliest clips with common words and phrases but to get to the latest clips & the ending you need to pay attention and find the right things to search for!
Again, it's genius!

I do have some personal gripes with the story and there is definitely a little bit of video game logic at work (meaning: odd rules to the world to make the gameplay better). One example is how you never hear the other end of a video call, even if they have the audio on loud and sometimes even tell the person they are talking to to be quit ... yet you can't hear anything!? 
Try to embrace it and have a great time with the game.

Tips before jumping in:
- Pay attention to the date & time of each clip
- Make notes & write down planned & used search terms
- Don't rewind clips to the beginning if you start at anything past minute 3
(My guess is that rewind is intentionally slow to discourage this player behaviour)
- Look at all the files and executable on your desktop
«Can’t stop playing»
«Beaten more than once»

Other reviews4

It’s actually quite interesting. I’m fascinated on how it progresses the story in a semi understandable manner.

I actually like the format. You get a story that’s jumbled around in a “random” order but by using certain searches you can often figure out who’s on the other side of the camera and choose some general trends of where it will go. Then the game has some limits where it naturally progresses the story. I’m assuming it’s after you watch a certain number of videos it unlocks the next batch and it just doesn’t tell you that’s happening in the background.

The acting and writing has been really quite good. It’s quality TV level of acting and writing. 

I think I’m close to the end. I’m curious how it ends. I hope the ending is satisfying. That’s my biggest concern with a story told in this format. 

A few complaints. Rewinding videos to start from the beginning is annoying. And I didn’t realize you need to bookmark videos so I had to go back and bookmark a ton of bookmarks after to progress the story. I felt like I had pretty much found all the videos but wasn’t getting anywhere new.

It drags on a little long. For the last stretch I was struggling to find new videos fast enough and it started feeling like busy work rather than an investigation. I was ready for the conclusion.

Finished it and I actually really liked the story ending. It’s pretty good. I got bored of the “gameplay” for the final 20% but I do think the story stuck the landing.

For a purely story based game it’s actually pretty high on my list. I will definitely play immortality now and maybe her story as well. 

Final Score: B
What a game and story to dive into while quarantined. Sam Barlow has done it again with exceptional writing and amazing acting from the cast!

+ Active role in uncovering story
+ Compelling story and great actors
+Little framing device touches (reflections, desktop, etc)

- Inability to watch clips from beginning is frustrating
- Watching half of conversations; too much dead air
- Doesn't push beyond what "Her Story" accomplished