LIfe is Strange

Life Is Strange was released on January 29th, 2015. It is a five part adventure game, which takes place in a small town.  You play as Maxine Caulfield, an eighteen year old photography student attending Blackwell Academy. The game starts with you stuck in a forest, on a hill, during a tornado. This portion of the game functions as a tutorial, which ends when you arrive at the lighthouse on top of the hill. There, you watch the town be destroyed by the tornado. You then wake up in a photography class.  

This third person game feels like an interactive comic book. As you look around the world Max lives in, you get to interact with classmates, teachers and even strangers in town.  This is a linear game, you have to complete set tasks before you can move on to the next one. The story starts off slow, and the credits slowly roll on as you make your way from the first class to the rest room. After this, the story begins to unfold, giving key photo opportunities for Max.  As you make choices in the game you have an impact on the next episodes. This is aided by a superpower Max finds out she has, the ability to rewind time.

The special ability can be used to achieve various effects. This can be from rewinding to the start of a conversation to have more options or even preventing someone getting hurt. At key times the game will remind you that your choice has consequences, and give you the chance to change your mind. The game does have a reasonable amount of things you can do per episode, with each taking around two hours to complete. Finding all the photo opportunities, and doing all the interactions can push this playtime up by about an hour.

The main focus of Max’s life within this game other than photography is her friend Chloe. The two of them team up to try and prevent the destruction of the town, while also working out what happened to Chloe’s friend Rachel Amber, who has gone missing. As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that many other young women have also disappeared.

Each part of the story draws you deeper into a web of lies and mystery. The more you find out the more complex and intriguing the storyline becomes. The puzzles can be as simple to solve as talking to someone to gain information before rewinding to give the correct answer, to more complex finding x item hidden in the area. Max will even give you clues if you seem to be lost.

On completing each episode I found myself wanting to replay it to see how different choices changed the next one and the ending of the game itself. I must admit that the ending I received first time was not what I wanted; however it was right for Max due to the way I played her that play through. Overall this game has a rich and rewarding storyline and it is easy to say why it won a BAFTA Games Award 2016. It keeps you emotionally invested, and has a great soundtrack.

At the time of writing this the first episode is free to download and play. If you enjoy enriched story lines and this style of game, give it a try.