This is an old post originally on my old site Slannxe Gaming. It was published on October 26th, 2017.
I remember seeing Oxenfree for the first time a few years ago. I was all about it. It looked awesome and seemed like a short story adventure I could get behind. I actually bought it day one and have had it installed on my Xbox One since it launched back in January of 2016. I didn’t find the time to actually play the game until just the other day and I jumped on it. The developers Night School did a great job with their first game.
So a little explaining of the story for Oxenfree. You play as Alex, a high school girl who is making her way to a little island town with her friend Ren and her new stepbrother Jonas. You meet two other girls at the beach on the island, Clarrissa, and Nona. There is a little tension between Clarissa and Alex and you find out more about that as you go through the game a bit. The game gets crazy supernatural after you enter a cave. I really don’t want to spoil anything in the game, even though it has been released for over a year and a half now. Let’s just say there are ghosts and a lot of time warps throughout the story. There were a few times that I was actually spooked out too. Which isn’t saying much since I tend to be pretty childish when it comes to anything remotely scary.
The game plays as an adventure story, giving you dialogue choices when talking with other characters and letting you interact with objects in the environment. You also use a little radio to tune into different radio frequencies. This all works fine, but you absolutely have to play with subtitles on. There are certain times where something is said over radio static and it is incredibly hard to actually know what they say. I also ran into a few other bugs, like answering a dialogue question while climbing a ladder and not being able to move afterward. Because of this, I had to restart an entire section of the game because the auto save feature seems a little sparse.
You also are walking around this pretty decent sized game map and Alex walks so incredibly slow. It feels so tedious. They try to break it up by having the characters have conversations with each other, but if you progress too far in your walk it will cut it off completely and you won’t get to finish the talk. So this ends up forcing you to stay in one spot until the talking is over. Or so it seemed to me. This is what I ended up doing, so the walks felt even worse.
I enjoyed the characters in Oxenfree for the most part. Things start getting really spooky but they never really seem to be scared at all. Only once did I feel any true emotion from Alex, and it seemed gone in an instant.
I think the music was my favorite thing in Oxenfree. Really fit well with the atmosphere the game was giving off. Almost gave me a Stranger Things type vibe, which I am all for.
Oxenfree is a really great indie game. The characters seem a little lackluster, but the mystery within the story was enough to make me push through to see the ending. There are multiple endings to the game, but from what I looked up the only reason you would do this is to get 100% of the trophies/achievements. One play through was definitely enough for me, but well worth the 4 hours I put into it.
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