I would be lying if I said Batman was my hero of choice. I would also be lying if I said that a game called Everybody Lies! encouraged players to lie to each other in order to have a full gaming experience. This is where our story picks up however, with a game called “Batman: Everybody Lies” that encourages players to tell different degrees of the truth to satisfy everyone’s win conditions, and ultimately unfold the overarching story being told. Batman: Everybody Lies by Portal Games, is a game for one to four players that sees players taking on different roles and cooperating with each other to discover the perpetrator of specific crimes that have happened to further uncover the bigger mystery in the game.
Batman: Everybody Lies is a cooperative game that sees players taking on the roles of characters from Batman’s world, investigating cases much like the Dark Knight himself would investigate cases. Such characters take on roles that see them explore cases and hunt down the truth in what amounts to a mystery needing to be solved. There are four main scenarios to play through. These scenarios will be the guiding force for the game and using the website provided through the rulebook, players can learn more information about the specific scenario they are playing, and then must use their skills of deductive reasoning to determine who is lying and who is not in order to uncover the truth.
At the beginning of a game players take on the roles of four different characters including Catwoman, Harvey Bullock, Vicki Vale, and Warren Spacey. These characters all have different abilities and goals they aim to achieve. The abilities will help towards learning hidden information during the game. All of the characters present unique avenues of investigation for players to use and explore the stories throughout the game.
This leads us to what we follow in the game in order to uncover the story of each scenario. There is a board that has the investigation track that sets the pace for how players traverse the game via the amount of turns/times they can investigate within the game. The board also shows many of the different locations that players must venture to in order to learn more information as the game goes on. These locations are famous places within Gotham City. Each time a location is used to investigate the story it gets used and players must then use tokens in order to refresh the location if they wish to revisit that location at another time during the scenario. All of these lend themselves to finding evidence tokens, which are used to learn more about the crimes that have occurred during each scenario.
Players ultimately convene and talk and decide which route they would like to take while investigating a scenario in order to foil the culprit of the crime during that scenario. Where the game gets its name Everybody Lies is from all of the different characters that have decided to not tell the truth due to any number of reasons they may have. These lies need to be seen through in order for players to succeed and if players do not, they do not pass a scenario and are instead told what happened and where they missed clues to whether characters were lying or not.
As the game continues, the website provided definitely gives players all they need to discover more about the current situation and whether or not they have successfully solved a mystery. Eventually when players have determined or chosen when they are ready to solve the mystery, the website will guide them through providing answers they were given throughout the scenario. This ultimately makes or breaks the team and whether they gathered enough evidence and deduced enough about the scenario to win. Each player is asked individual questions as to what they discovered as the character they played as and through this we can glean who is a team player and who was out to satisfy their own personal goals.
Now this all means there are many different avenues of investigation to go through, and sometimes it is not necessary to explore all of them, not to mention at times it would be irresponsible if you are running out of turns to solve the crime. Where Batman: Everybody Lies starts to take shape is in the investigative venture; there is a definite amount of depth provided in the amount of information provided and story you have to comb through as these characters play detective. The information you are given often provides many connections of the story you are investigating and thus keeps players engaged.
Batman: Everybody Lies presents a unique take on a game centered in the DC universe of heroes and villains. Through this lens we do not actually take on the role of the most well known characters like Batman, who, being one of the best detectives there is, would definitely have solved some of these in his sleep, or put some bad guys to sleep to get the answers he needed. No, in this game you take on different roles of those that are not directly related to the Gotham City Police Department in order to discover the truth about cases that others may have written off or care nothing about finding out or the powers that be may be watching too closely. That being said it is intriguing to see characters that interact with Batman at many times during their lives left to investigate on their own terms.
While the game had its moments, there were at times some confusing parts such as what avenue is going to give us better ideas of what is happening. This is frustrating in a way that using deductive reasoning to talk about where to go and what to investigate as a group sometimes never panned out and served to make fools out of us who thought the most logical place to go, was at times the wrong place to go. Tokens also are a bit harder to come by and make investigating that much more difficult to get through. All of this is not to say that Batman: Everybody Lies is not a great game, or a fun and engaging dive into the depths of Gotham City. It is merely to point out that a good game, while still good, will sometimes still have its flaws.
In my experience with Batman: Everybody Lies, there were a few times that myself and those that I played with often questioned what information we were given and what was relevant and what was not. Things at times were not as transparent as they could have been, which in a way could be construed as part of the challenge. That being said the game provides plenty of opportunities to discover what happened during each individual scenario and also does dangle some red herrings in front of your face so as to keep you guessing and ultimately to use your skills of deduction to figure out the actual culprit of each scenario.
Batman: Everybody Lies
Batman: Everybody Lies plays fast and loose with the setting of Gotham City. Creating a narrative that wants people to ask where Batman is, but being explained away at the very beginning establishes the supporting characters, which in this case are the main characters. In what tells its own set of stories the game keeps players communicating and involved and not letting one player trample over the rest of where things should go or not go. All in all Batman: Everybody Lies is an example of a cooperative game that uses narration as its driving force and for that it succeeds most of the time.
- Plays are relatively easy to set up and do not take a long amount of time to get through
- Refreshing cooperative play that keeps players communicating rather than sitting in silence while one player takes over
- The backdrop of Gotham City, and overall thematic elements really immerse you within the game
- Some red herrings are a bit too convincing
- Lots of reading can at times feel
- Four scenarios are a bit short and the game could use a little more content