Review – Burnhouse Lane

Burnhouse Lane is a story-driven adventure-puzzle game based around death and despair. Right from the get-go, Burnhouse Lane takes a really dark turn with your character opting to, let’s just say, “call it a day”, only for the beam to break. After which, you decide to take a job taking care of an older gentleman who suffers from dementia, who also has an eclectic group of people surrounding his life, from neighbours to priests. There is a really interesting batch of… well, not friends, but acquaintances surrounding this gentlemen’s life.


Look at this beautiful UK weather.

The actual gameplay is quite simple. Imagine a typical point-and-click style game, King’s Quest or Machinarium, where you need to find items to solve puzzles and progress the story. It’s quite simple, and actually adds some action sections, like shooting zombies quite randomly, or avoiding people who have been fattened up on kebabs. I promise it makes sense in the context of the game; Omar just really likes to feed people kebabs. It’s nice that some items are used for multiple things, not every solution is for progressing the story, but sometimes collecting items for your bedroom that you can place in between chapters.

Burnhouse Lane Omar

Sounds like a deal, how late are you open?

Burnhouse Lane is named after a specific location within the game. It’s the place right before the grave, is the best way to explain it. The only creatures that can freely travel between the two worlds are cats, because cats are creepy and stare at ghosts. Well, that is the only creature beside you. After making a deal with a cat that looks a little bit worse for wear, you’ll be tasked with leading some scum of the earth back to Burnhouse Lane to meet their end, and in return, you’re promised a solution to your own disease.

Burnhouse Lane Cat

Are… are you?

Burnhouse Lane has a similar look to that of Darkest Dungeon. It features hand-drawn characters that move on a 2D plain to find doors and items. When you consider a 3D object, like a house for instance, it can make it hard to keep track of where things are since rooms can feel like they connect in a strange way or in a way you simply wouldn’t expect. As an example, the front door/entryway goes straight into the kitchen before you can get to the rest of the house. It’s a bit strange, but it seems to be put together this way just to make parts of the plot work better, like characters walking into the house unannounced to interrupt breakfast.

Jenny's Scratches

So relaxed, after everything you’re so relaxed.

The characters in Burnhouse Lane are about 95% voiced. There are only a couple small sections or just internal thoughts that don’t have voiced lines. It is nice that you don’t need to try and read every little thing to pop up in case it’s important for the puzzles throughout Burnhouse Lane, especially since a lot of the text in the menus is incredibly small. Frustratingly small.

The issue I have with some of the voice acting is some characters don’t really seem bothered by what’s happening around them, even if they’ve dealt with some horrific things. For instance, Jenny in the second chapter is kept in a basement, abused, and threatened with murder for a fair bit of time, and there are things to suggest even worse has happened by the man doing it. When they’re leaving the basement and have a fairly good idea that the man could be right behind them still, Jenny is very lax and nonchalant about everything going on. No urgency in the voice or even any fear.


Even in video games the Welsh can’t get away from the stereotype.

That said, the biggest issue I have with Burnhouse Lane is the ambient noises. I enjoy a world that feels alive, but the constant, repetitive noises that sound like dripping, or tapping, in locations you need to spend a fair bit of time in, can be maddening. The world feels alive when you’re in locations for a short amount of time, but after a bit it can start to feel incredibly artificial.

Burnhouse Lane is a great little puzzle game to keep you on your toes. Everything can be a clue as to how to solve a puzzle, and the amount of cats is great for someone like me. There are some negatives, but all in all, it’s a great experience with a really good story about depression, despair, and acceptance. As a whole, the positives massively outweigh the negatives. 


Graphics: 8.0

Burnhouse Lane does a great job at maintaining its dark atmosphere without making the world feel pitch black. The characters are all distinguishable from each other, and the background and foreground feel separate.

Gameplay: 8.5

Burnhouse Lane is one of the more interesting puzzle games I’ve played. It’s the right balance of puzzle without being too convoluted, and story without making it feel like a visual novel.

Sound: 6.0

I appreciate the voice acting for the most part, but there are a couple characters that miss the mark on expressing the gravity of certain situations. The atmosphere is also done well, but can become incredibly repetitive if in an area for too long.

Fun Factor: 9.0

I enjoyed Burnhouse Lane way more than I could have anticipated. The story is well put together, the level of darkness to the story is well balanced, with bright points with some of the side characters. It never feels stale and has a satisfying ending.

Final Verdict: 8.5

Burnhouse Lane is available now on Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S.

Reviewed on Xbox Series X.

A copy of Burnhouse Lane was provided by the publisher.