When it first debuted more than a year ago, Oxenfree did the unthinkable: it made the constant babble of teenagers not only tolerable, but enjoyable. And now the creepy adventure is something you can play on your phone, as the previously console- and PC-exclusive game has come to iOS.
Oxenfree tells the story of a group of teenagers heading to a small island to party, with the goal of having a parent-free evening of drinking around a beach bonfire. But things eventually take a turn for the paranormal, as main character Alex gets hold of a radio that seems to let her communicate with another dimension. It’s a charming paranormal romp with shades of Stranger Things, and an incredible sense of style.
But what really makes Oxenfree special is its dialogue. Alex and her friends are seemingly always talking, but unlike most games, where the experience stops so conversation can happen, in Oxenfree it’s an ever-present phenomenon. As you wander around the island, or are running away from something terrifying, you can still talk, choosing from dialogue choices as you do other things. It makes the conversation feel like a natural part of the experience. And it helps that Oxenfree is a very well-written game, with a cast of mostly likable characters.
It’s also not the kind of experience that is particularly challenging. You won’t face challenging enemies or get stuck on overly complex puzzles in Oxenfree. But this narrative focus should make it an ideal game to play on an iPhone or iPad, the kind of story you can curl up with in bed. The iOS version is exactly the same experience as the original release, but on a smaller screen and with new touch controls.
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