Review | No One Lives Under the Lighthouse

Father, Forgive Me

No One Lives Under the Lighthouse is part of a burgeoning “PlayStation 1 graphics” retro horror genre.  You are a new Lighthouse Keeper, dropped off on a remote island and tasked with maintenance.  Over the course of an hour or two, you will be scared, confused, and annoyed in various manners.  How does it all end up feeling?  A bit scared and if you’re anything like me, full of boredom and rage.

The Moths

NOLUTL is all about its atmosphere.  The sound design does an excellent job of evoking the stark loneliness of working as a lone lighthouse keeper on a secluded island.  Your task is to fill your oil can, use it to get the lamp lit up, and then crank a rope attached to sandbags that act to rotate the light as they slowly descend.  Finding the key to enter the lighthouse, locating the oil canteen, and constantly repairing things are the main gameplay in the title early on.  You have a small cabin house in which there is a chest with four crest slots.  There are a number of endings depending on where you go when, what you find, and more.

To do all of this you’ll slowly move forwards using the left stick.  A is your interact button, right trigger is used for running, and the left trigger zooms in the camera a small amount.  It never feels great on console, with a slow and slippery camera that you control with the right stick.  Default movement speed is incredibly slow, and you run out of stamina while running far too quickly.  It does recover fast, but in some of the more tense moments of the game, the controls were incredibly frustrating.

Depending on what you do and when there is combat, and it controls dreadfully.  There is only one gun and both aiming and reloading are a massive chore.  I imagine it is meant to add to the intensity of the situation, but I hated it.  If the game had stayed a “walk to an area, find an item, and use it at your leisure” title I would have had a far more enjoyable time.  The forced combat and chase sections feel straight out of a cheap arcade game, requiring constant retries that used to be there to suck up your quarters.

The Goths

Without spoiling much there are a few instances where you come across other characters.  They typically have one line of dialogue and continue the game’s devoted to looking old school.  If you told me these character models were straight out of a mid 90’s PS1 European game I’d believe you.  Every part of the title is trying to hit that N64/Sega Saturn/PS1 low-budget look.  The shimmering in the environment was starting to give me a headache, with severe aliasing found on every straight edge.

Sound-wise there is no voice acting and minimal music.  Ambient noise carries the experience and it is well done.  There is just enough sound to make the island feel alive, with the constant crashing of ocean waves reminding you of just how isolated you are.

Checkpointing was frequent, which helped in some of the more frustrating combat and chase sections.  There are enemies in the game who are horrifying to look at, sound like the devil and are miserable to run away from.  The game is rarely fun, but that seems to be what horror genre fans want.  The scares are real, with a mix of proper dread and creepiness being the majority of them.  Jump scares do happen, but they’re used well and not the main focus of the title.

Wrapping Things Up

No One Lives Under the Lighthouse is a solid low-budget indie horror that aims a little too high with its gameplay mechanics.  They only happen in certain endings, and its short run time means any horror fan will gladly seek them all out.  At a $12 MSRP it is a no brainer if you enjoy getting the shit scared out of you.

No One Lives Under the Lighthouse

Played on
Xbox Series X
No One Lives Under the Lighthouse


  • Interesting Look
  • Effective Ambient Sound
  • Multiple Endings Add to Replayability


  • Terrible Controls
  • Poor Combat and Chase Sections
6.6 out of 10
XboxEra Scoring Policy

Jesse 'Doncabesa' Norris

Proud father of two, lucky to have a wife far too good for me. I write a ton of reviews, am a host on the You Had Me At Halo podcast, and help fill out anywhere I can for our site.

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