Life is Strange mobile is a 5 part point and click adventure game developed by Dontnod Entertainment which is said to be forward-thinking in its design, presentation, and overall storytelling. Dontnod is the same developer which brought us the title Remember Me back in 2013 and are responsible for many other memorable games and soundtracks. Initially released in 2015, the series Life is Strange covered all known platforms and won many awards, including the Develop Industry Excellence Awards for Use of Narrative and more.
The peculiar and award-winning storytelling style of this game places this title in the graphic adventure, episodic video game and it is almost like an interactive animated movie. As mentioned, this is the second major game from Dontnod and while Remember Me was something of a sci-fi game on top of everything else. This time around our story takes us to a simple art school.
You play as Max, who is an aspiring photographer, attending an art school called Blackwell Academy, located in a seaside town in Arcadia Bay. Just as the story begins, Max accidentally realizes she has the supernatural ability of rewinding time.
She uses this ability to save Chloe, her friend she hasn’t seen in 5 years and continues on to unravel dark secrets quite unbecoming of the peaceful seaside city of Arcadia Bay.
Max goes on to unravel unsolved crimes, kidnappings but also faces much greater danger as the story naturally takes many unpredictable turns. At one point she even faces an apocalyptic tornado, but that we’ll let you discover how that one goes on your own.
This Time Rewind power Max has is the fundamental mechanic in the game. You can use it to correct errors in judgment or explore all potential paths you can take in any given situation.
Sometimes, it is simply necessary for Max to traverse back through time multiple times just to get around some obstacle and physically navigate space.
This power she has gives the game a unique flavor of curiosity, as it lets you explore any potential situation from multiple angles, giving you a sense of confidence and reward. However, some choices cannot be undone but the game will warn you once you pass the Point of No Return. Max may even comment on a given situation if it is not going the way it is supposed to, giving the player the necessary feedback.
This Time Travel ability, however, removes the otherwise present tension in the usual games. But, as other games rely on the system of trial and error, where you fail continually until you obtain the skill or the knowledge necessary to get through a certain problem, here you can simply explore all your options and approach the whole game experience from another angle. The only thing missing is the fear of the consequences present in other games, but to make up for that Life is Strange also features certain parts of the story where you are locked out of the Time Rewind ability for the specific reason in a specific situation in the story.
This can be frustrating, especially as you get used to playing God in a sense, but it does bring that uncertainty flavor to the game.
This game’s puzzle solving and branching choice mechanics do not only concern solving quests or making environmental changes, but you can also branch out due to different choices in the conversation with NPCs.
This kind of gameplay mechanic and storytelling combination puts the player at the center of the game, as your character’s arc and story are the central points in every situation. Also, other characters you encounter are kind of archetypical, which is probably intentional to also help further the story-gameplay connection and a sense of purpose each choice the player makes has.
Over 75 Game of the Year Awards
Life is Strange got overall favorable reviews and won 75 different Game of the Year awards, mostly due to its narrative giving much emphasis on character development and tackled taboo subjects. At certain points, the story may even be considered a bit dark, but still remains a representation of a problem society has today in reality.
The criticism mostly revolved around poor lip-syncing and slang used in the dialogs, but as the episodes progressed the developers quickly answered any common feedback from the players with quick adjustments, thus contributing to this game being sold in over three million copies only two years after its initial release.
A sequel, Life is Strange 2, is set to be released in September 2018, and as there are no plot points or other announcements giving us some insight into what it’s going to be about, the community and the fans are hyped and await the sequel with much excitement.
Final Score: Epic (9)