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“Olly olly oxen free, in the island, you and me.” Oxenfree was one of the games I wanted to play but never did (as of most of the games I play), maybe it was due the lack of time or interest. I gathered a list of games I wanted to play; I literally went to see all PS4 —games there is and checked EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM and their reviews!! It took a minute to go through the list but I got myself a loooong list of good games and Oxenfree was there waiting for me.
I wasn’t quite sure what Oxenfree was about other than some supernatural things happening and aliens? After playing approx. 15 minutes I learned the basics and backstories of some characters. I got good impression of this and figured out that Oxenfree is very peculiar game, in every aspect.
Aliens and UFOs have been hot topic for decades with countless of movies, books—and of course—conspiracy theories. One of the search tags of this game was ‘abduction’, and it also seems like someone being abducted in the cover image.
Oxenfree tells story of five friends going on a little island as a trip, and how they experience supernatural occurences. Friends are dying and coming back to life, main character getting stuck in a ‘loop’ of events, so naturally they want to get out of the island, like, now.
The story was very interesting to me, who always wonders about theoretical physics and all sorts of philosophical things and most importantly; just being alive. Oxenfree questions these kinds of topics and as player chooses the answers and decisions the game evolves. I knew how Oxenfree will/would end and it did exactly that, so this might not come as a surprise to most of the players. I still like the story and how it’s told. All the mysterious things happening that aren’t actually that ‘supernatural’ if you lean on theoretical physics.
Gameplay & Controls
Gameplay is rather easy. You play as a young college girl and your friends are talking all the time and then asking questions from you or you have to just throw your opinions to the air when everyone is talking. Time to say anything is limited so I would say maximum answering time is two blinks and that’s it. You also have to make tough decisions of where to go, who to help first and so on. All this have impact to the story and to the ending.
As of controlling the character, Oxenfree is 2D/3D (sidescrolling) meaning it is played sideways but it has 3D depth to it. Choices are made with square, triangle or circle —buttons, meaning, there is only three options each time. You can keep quiet, too, if you like to. Player also have to use a portable radio, which is important item (the only item) you can use throughout the game. This means there isn’t any inventory which makes gameplay even easier.
as player chooses the answers and decisions the game evolves
Characters have very unique look to them; they rather look like spaghettilegs with huge heads. Oxenfree is very pastellic and calm as graphically and wild and weird with the story. This balancing with story and visuals makes Oxenfree great expenrience.
Eventhough Oxenfree takes place at present time, there is strong vibes of 80’s in almost everything. VHS tape-like effects, sounds and items reminds of the golden 1980’s.
I played with wireless headphones and I liked how the game sounds. If you wanna hear closely all those weird sounds that is one big part of the game—you’ll need headphones, hunty. Voice acting could’ve been maybe tiny bit better since there was parts of the game that sounded over– or underacted.
The background music and effects, though. They all are very skulky and scary, almost horrorish, at times. I would love to own soundtrack album of this game, but I’m not sure is there any available.
there is only three options each time
No. Nothing. If you can handle PlayStation 4 controller then you can play this. This is easily one–sit playthrough (approx. 4 to 7 hours depending are you quick player or leisure) and as of ‘an average player’ this took me around 5 hours to complete. There aren’t any deaths so you’ll constantly move onwards in the game.
Even though I could predict how Oxenfree would end I still like this game. It questions… basically everything. In a small (meaning indie) game is a huge message and story. When the game ended I was so full of thoughts and ideas about ‘everythingness’ that I got infatuated. If you are a questioner like me, I recommend this to You.
strong vibes of 80’s
RELEASE DATE: May 31, 2016
GENRE: Adventure/Unique/Graphic adventure
PUBLISHER: Night School Studio
DEVELOPER: Night School Studio
PLATFORMS: PlayStation 4