I feel like Miss Marple would have had a much easier time of it if she could have broken into the inner sanctums of a suspect's mind when she was one a case, although I'm not sure her old lady ticker could have handled the grotesque daemons that lie at the heart of Lucifer Within Us.
Lucifer Within Us is a short and sweet detective game, but one set in a fantasy world where daemons possess the unsuspecting and compel them to commit terrible crimes. Your first case features a victim with an exploded head, and it only gets darker from there. This is less Clue style "it was the butler in the pantry with the gun" and more "it was the cannibal with the liver, with a little help from Beezlebub".
You'll need to examine the evidence at the crime scene – missing even the tiniest detail can leave you floundering – and then go through the testimony of each suspect to catch them out in lies and contradictions. Mercifully, and to save you scrawling pages of notes, the UI lines up all the testimonies broken up by activity, so you can see where things don't match up with a little fiddling. You can also ask your suspects about anyone else's testimony, the physical evidence you've found, and the psychological profiles of other suspects. The tricky part is finding the right evidence to catch someone in a lie, but goddamn it's satisfying when you do.
Once you've unmasked a lie, you can use your third eye on your suspect to peel away a layer of their psyche. You might find out they're grief-stricken, or a narcissist, or sizzling with envy, and these discoveries are key to pinning down a motive. You can accuse your suspects at any time and there's no detriment to your investigation – except some hurt pride - if you get it wrong, but you do have to have a weapon, an opportunity, and a motive to do so.
The narrative of this stridently religious fantasy world, its beliefs that mix the divine with cybernetics, is fascinating stuff, and the characters you meet all hint at a complicated history and a much bigger story to be told. Going through their testimony makes you understand them quickly, so you can't help but feel emotionally involved with every case you investigate. Also, Sister Ada, the character you play, is a straight-up badass, shouting at daemons and calling bullshit on lies at every turn.
In fact, the only disappointment is that the game is short, there are just three cases to examine, and honestly, I could have played a hundred more without getting bored of the gentle mind-tickling of police procedural work. The game does give you a satisfying ending though, and hopefully leaves the way open for some kind of sequel.
Lucifer Within Us is out now on PC.