Video Game Review: Oxenfree

Details: Spent about eight hours playing the game, though a lot of that time was just spent idling. More information can be found at http://nightschoolstudio.com/oxenfree/

Score: 7/10

Oxenfree is a straight up adventure game. Like most independently made games, it’s a game that relies heavily on art direction and narrative twists to keep the player engaged.

Oxenfree is about some kids that go to an island to hang out. When they get there, they find that not everything is as it seems and they must now escape or defeat a supernatural threat.

I don’t want to say too much about the story since it is the core of this game. Suffice it to say there is plenty of supernatural and science fiction stuff going on. There are also multiple endings.

Visually, the game is simple, but stylish. Independent games need to be since they can’t afford to compete with games that push the edge on technical capabilities. The game looks fine.

What’s impressive to me is that the game is fully voiced. In fact, the way they handle the voice acting is impressive. Throughout the game dialogue simply occurs and characters talk. Dialogue option pop up over your head and you get to respond with one of those options. If you don’t click on something within an unidentified time limit, you simply say nothing and the characters react accordingly. It’s not a groundbreaking way to handle player interaction in dialogue, but it is unique in that I cannot recall another game doing things this way. This method allows the dialogue to feel fluid and natural regardless of what a player decides to say. In my play through, I was often too lazy to pick an option and it was nice to see the dialogue continue without my participation. Other times, I felt compelled to participate for fear of the consequences of my choices.

Gameplay is simple. You just walk around and interact with things. There are some “puzzles,” if you can call them that. There’s nothing to complex here. The most complex and annoying thing here was the radio. Many times throughout the game you need to tune a radio in order to progress. It’s a mundane task and is pretty boring. Luckily, it’s easy enough not to cause too much annoyance.

Overall, this was a fun game. I got it for free from the Epiq Games store, so I can’t complain about the price. Considering that it cost me nothing, I found the game fun and enjoyed my time with it.

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