Critical Play: Life is Strange

Game: Life is Strange

Created by: Dontnod Entertainment, Square Enix, Deck Nine, Feral Interactive, Black Wing Foundation

Device: PC

Target audience: Age 17+. Anyone who likes mystery and narrative.

Formal elements:

Players: Single player vs. Game

Objective: Play as the main character who is trying to solve the mysteries of her town, including the strange disappearances of young people and a supernatural tornado.

Type of fun:

Discovery: As you play the main character, you can examine clues and puzzles in your surroundings. You can talk to other characters and interact with objects in your environment.

Narrative: There is a strong storyline to this game which is what keeps players engaged, and different player choices bring about different consequences to the storyline.

Moments of success or epic fails:

It’s cool that you can interact with a bunch of different objects in the scenes, but oftentimes those objects don’t have any impact to the quests or storyline. It’s hard to know which ones are important to interact with, so you end up spending a lot of time on these unnecessary moments.

Things to change:

I think having the unlimited rewinds was nice (and is similar to other games where you can revive at a ‘saved’ spot if you die). However, it makes me a little less invested in figuring out the puzzles/quests on the first tries since I know I can just rewind. It also just seems like some really strong plot armor. Maybe having some consequence to too many rewinds would make it more entertaining. I also realize this game was published years ago, but some of the dialogue and interactions are a bit cringe-y.

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