Critical Play: Life is Strange

Game: Life is Strange

Developers: Dontnod Entertainment, Deck Nine, Square Enix, Black Wing Foundation

Device Playe: iPhone

Target Audience:

  • Age Range: 14+
  • Anyone who like puzzles with a strong narrative focus
  • Affinity to Supernatural Elements

Formal Elements of Game:

Players: Single Player vs. Game

Objective: An exploratory/narrative focused game in which the main character Max is to solve for the disseverance of the missing student and why a Tornado is heading to her hometown.

Outcomes: Depends on the choices of the players; however, the major story line is consistent despite the players choices.

Types of Fun:

  • Narrative: The narrative is the driving aspect of this game, and it is incredibly fun to follow. Additionally, the fact that this game is choose your own path creates an incredibly immersive experience. With Max’s time altering abilities, the player can travel back in time and make different choices and see how that alters the timeline.
  • Discovery: The objective of Life is Strange is to solve the mystery. The player can interact with other characters, examine the surroundings for clues and information, and interact with in-animate objects.
  • Challenge: To solve the mystery, Max (the player) needs to solve puzzles by collecting items and making changes to the environment. I found puzzles such as the doing the Scavenger Hunt and entering school without being noticed difficult to crack. Saying this, challenge is no the main type of fun in this game.

Moments of success or epic fails:

  • Epic Success: Through the changeable perspectives, various interfaces, and beautiful designs, Life is Strange is an incredibly immersive experience. The audio/music was my favorite part of the game!
  • Epic Fail: As this is a narrative-focused game, I found some of the puzzles a little too difficult. For instance, inside the endless Girls Dorm hallway puzzle, it took me 20 minutes to crack the key. As Life is Strange is foremost a narrative-based game, I thought some of the more difficult puzzles drew away from the otherwise immersive narrative experience.

Potential Changes:

            Mod the Ability Rewind: I loved how Max had the ability to rewind time, and I believe it is a vital mechanic in the game. Saying this, instead of unlimited rewinds, it would be interesting if the player had to unlock rewinds through puzzles or explatory means as the game goes on.

             Easier Puzzles: As I mentioned earlier, Life is Strange is ultimately a narrative-driven game; thus, I found the rising difficulty of the puzzles as the game went on to be deterrent to my overall enjoyment of the game. I would have preferred easier puzzles throughout but that might just be a personal preference.

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