|Platforms||PC, PS4, XBO|
|Developer||Night School Studio|
|Publisher||Night School Studio|
|Release Date||January 15, 2016|
Oxenfree is a very strange game, both in its subject matter and the way it’s put together. It’s a horror game that isn’t focused on actually scaring you. It focuses on the weirdness of the situation it places it protagonists in over going for cheap scares, building an atmosphere around a game which is basically The Twilight Zone by way of an Aaron Sorkin screenplay.
Oxenfree masterfully crafts an excellent narrative, building a game that is part horror, part coming of age story and part 2D adventure game. It takes each one of these genres and mashes them together to create one of the most memorable video game stories of 2016. It’s coolest trick is a massive spoiler. If you haven’t played it, you need to. If you have you probably know what I mean when I say there’s a narrative twist in here that blew my mind so thoroughly that I still sit here in awe of it almost 12 months later.
You’re pulled into Oxenfree’s world thanks to this narrative, but also the amazingly well written characters whose dialogue and interactions delight throughout. They also thoroughly obliterate the “idiot teen” stereotype, making sane and rational decisions for the games running time (which is a nice change of pace). Oxenfree lives and dies by its dialogue and voice acting, with conversations making up the majority of its gameplay.
The way in which Oxenfree handles its dialogue is still one of the coolest game mechanics of the year. Conversations between characters take place as you’re exploring and wandering the environment. You can choose responses by selecting from speech bubbles that appear around the player character, all of which are tied to face buttons on your controller. Dialogue never actually interrupts you playing the game. It’s a small but revolutionary touch.
A riveting, mind-bending and ultimately mind-blowing story backed up by choices that matter. Fantastically well written and natural protagonists who feel like real people rather than characters in a video game, with believable dialogue, behaviours and motivations. All wrapped up in a gorgeous art style that makes the game look like a painting. Oxenfree has just about everything you’re looking for in an adventure game.
Check out Gary’s review of Oxenfree here.
The List So Far:
11) Quantum Break
12) Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
13) Watch Dogs 2
14) The Flame in the Flood
15) Forza Horizon 3
16) The Banner Saga 2
17) Planet Coaster
18) Gears of War 4
19) Until Dawn: Rush of Blood
20) Batman: The Telltale Series