WIBBLY WOBBLY TIMEY WIMEY STUFF
Oxenfree is a supernatural thriller adventure game and the debut title from Night School studio. It is a wonderfully quirky coming of age tail with a creepy supernatural overtone.
The characters are interesting, mostly lovable and develop well throughout the game. This well paced character development is unfortunately not reflected in the pacing of the rest of the game. The long walks between locations often felt that they lacked the urgency that the circumstances the characters found themselves in demanded. This, coupled with arguably stilted conversations did mean that I was occasionally drawn out of the game’s immersion to think, “huh, that’s a weird thing to say”. It does a better job than most in trying to capture the elusive “realistic teen conversation”, and credit where credit is due. But it is far from perfect.
The branching dialogue options often feel like they’re giving the illusion of choice, yet it’s done in a way that is simple and effective. The moral choices are well hidden behind actions, there’s no black and white, no right and wrong. You literally cannot please everybody. Just like in real life.
Oxenfree is the kind of game that you WANT to play more of, and they offer it! There are many collectibles spread throughout the world that give you the chance to learn more about the spooky world that Night School Studios have created.
Unfortunately for me, I was so engrossed in the story that I needed to wrap it up, I needed that conclusion that was teased for so long, I just NEEDED to know what that hell was going on. It was captivating, unique and has just the right number of hooks, twists and turns that it does not overstay it’s welcome. You should have absolutely no problem blitzing out Oxenfree in just a couple of hours.
The music compliments the setting in a wonderful “hey, I’m here, but don’t worry, I won’t say anything” kind of way. It blends wonderfully with the ambiance of the world, which if I must say is really where Oxenfree shines. The world doesn’t just look the part, it feels and sounds like an all encompassing freak-show with diverse areas and locations that remind me of my own teenage adventures. Well, it would have, if I had ever been the target of a ghostly possession.