Paced in a way that you do not rush through it, Oxenfree is a supernatural mystery graphic adventure game that will make you pause at its small, detail-oriented moments. The first game by Night School Studio, it is influenced by classic teen films and coming-of-age shows. The game depicts the coming-of-age element really well. The developers did not want to involve any cut scenes in the game and wanted players to be able to freely roam the environment. This sets the story-telling technique apart from the mainstream, and with the suitable soundtrack created by musician scntfc, the result is a unique adventure one would love to go on.
Story: Alex is on the last ferry going to Edwards Island for a party. Ren and Jonas accompany her and they meet Nona and Clarissa there. The island was once a military base and its only permanent resident recently died. The teenagers explore the nearby caves where supernatural events are rumored to occur from certain radio frequencies. Alex tunes her radio and causes a dimensional rift, causing the teens to experience visions before passing out and waking up in different areas.
Play Style: The game is a beautiful but haunting experience. It has branching dialogue options where the player who controls Alex gets to decide what to say to the other characters. The conversations are smartly blended into the game, as you continue to learn more and more about each character. On certain occasions, the outcome would remain the same no matter what option you choose, delivering the message that sometimes you cannot win social situations. The supernatural element of the story builds but remains rooted in the conversations to keep in touch with reality. However, time loops, revelation of dark sides of the characters, and subtle, unsettling differences in the environment when the same scene plays cause a rush of excitement and urgency to see the game through. Relationships between the characters is integral to the game, and you help develop them with your actions.
Audience: If you are a fan of teen movies you are definitely going to enjoy this game. With its story-based gameplay, it will feel like as much of a movie as a game. It was nominated for Best Narrative at The Games Awards 2016, and for good reason. So gamers who really enjoy the plot of games ought to definitely buy it.
Platforms: Oxenfree is on a variety of platforms including Microsoft Windows, OS X, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Linux, iOS, and Android.
Verdict: In short, Oxenfree is an amazing game for story-lovers and gamers who love the suspense attached to certain plots. Night School Studio has done amazingly for their first attempt and have gained critical acclaim for it. If you are a player who loves to follow narratives in games, Oxenfree is definitely worth the investment.