Capsule Review: Oxenfree

An adventure game with a light horror setting - you play as one of a group of teenagers who must survive the night on an island despite the interference of hostile ghosts and some other twists along the way. The main draw is the game’s experimental mechanics - many puzzles are solved by tuning a radio, but more notable is the live conversation system. You’re often presented with dialog options while someone else is speaking, and the game will handle interruptions or choosing to stay silent. Unfortunately, it’s not always clear whether clicking a dialog option will queue up a response or cut someone off - the system needs further refinement. There’s a lot of walking back and forth between points of interest along space-filling paths, which presumably is done to create time for the teens to converse. Since so much of the game is just listening to them talk to each other, it’s very good that the characters feel real enough to get attached to. Less good is that the game’s plot doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, and the ending is fairly unsatisfying.

I Stopped Playing When: I finished the game. The unsatisfying resolution left me uninterested in exploring the game’s multiple paths, though I read about them online.

Docprof's Rating:

Three Stars: Good. I liked the game enough to finish it (or just play it a bunch, for games that don't end). I recommend it to most genre fans.

You can get it or learn more here.