Go to the App store on your phone and search for Oxenfree. You will see an icon with a cartoon girl with Blue hair on it. This is Alex and she is your window into this game. You control what she says, where she goes, and how her night on an old, nearly forgotten island, ends.
You join Alex, her friend Ren, and her new step-brother, Jonas, on a ferry to Edwards Island, where they are going to meet up with their friends Clarissa and Nona. This island is though to be haunted by some and the kids, or at least Ren, want to find out if this is true. He heard that if you stand at the mouth of one of the caves that can be found on the island, and tune a radio to the right frequency, you can hear into another dimension. He asks Alex to bring her radio along to do just that, but another dimension isn’t the only thing they unearth…
This game was able to do something many games haven’ been able to accomplish: it actually held my attention. I downloaded it one night about a week ago, fairly late into the night I might add, and had almost completed it by the time I put it down. I didn’t get much sleep that night due to the fact that this game is fairly long. I’ve been trying out what exactly kept me playing for so long. Was it the graphics? Was it the characters? Was it the story? The answer is yes. I found nearly every aspect of this game compelling, even the simple, yet unique, game mechanics. The experience playing this game was unlike any I have every had, and by far the best.
In this game you control your character by clicking where you want to go. It’s that easy!! The fun part, though, is getting to choose what Alex says. There is a lot of dialogue in this game (and it is all voice acted!), so there is a lot of choosing you have to do. Every time you have a choice to make, one, two, or three speech bubbles float above Alex’s head. Once they appear, they quickly fade away, so be on your toes. You have to quickly choose what to say or she will just say nothing at all, which won’t exactly end the conversation. Like many of the games we have played in this class, each decision will influence the outcome of the game and will lead you towards a different ending. Due to the fact that I really want to play this game again and not spoil it for myself, I have not looked into how many different endings there are. The thing I do know is that at the end of the game you are show the statistics of the game, via pie charts, and are shown how much of a percentage you have at getting that specific ending.
The fact that you have to make quick decisions whenever Alex’s speech bubbles popped up really drove this game to reach its full potential. It added a sense of urgency that I feel many games like this miss. It made it feel like the decisions that I was making actually mattered.
The last thing I really love about this game is that it is technically a puzzle game, but it isn’t very difficult. It is actually very intuitive once you get a hang of it. I am completely hopeless at most puzzle games, but I didn’t need a walk through for this. I think that was for the better because then I actually got my own ending.
This game is very immersive. The graphics and the voice acting really make you feel like you are there, on Edward Island. This allows you to grow attached to the characters, and really gets you to care about how everything ends. And let me just tell you now, the stakes are high.
If you want to check it out for yourself, here is the website.