Critical Play: Mysteries (Wilmer Zuna)

For this week, I decided to do a critical play on Life is Strange, built by DONTNOD Entertainment and published by Square Enix within the Franchise of Life is Strange in 2015. The game is also available across multiple platforms such as XBOX, PC, Play Station, iPhone, Android, Nintendo Switch.


The formal elements of game design in Life is Strange:

  • Objectives: The game starts out as a mixture of solution and forbidden action start. The main player, Max, starts out in the middle of a forest, where there is a huge storm and she is standing by the peak of a mountain. As we later find out, Max has the ability to rewind time, affecting both the past, the present and the future.
  • Outcomes: This game leans towards a non-zero sum outcome, as the main player, Max, is trying to resolve understanding her new-found powers as well as save people that she finds along the way.
  • Rules: There are boundaries within Max’s environment and the player that do not permit her to g beyond her current skillset. For instance, the main player is in the body of a teenager, and is heavily affected by the relationships and interactions that happen around her.
  • Procedures: As we later find out, Max is able to rewind time at will – the player has the choice to do this at convenient times also. One moment that displays an example is when Max goes to the bathroom after class and witnesses a murder. As a result, she unwinds time to go back to the time where she can prevent this outcome from repeating.


  • Resources: A really big resource that Max has advantage of is time, given that she can unwind time at will. Additionally, the knowledge that Max carries as she unwinds time and traverses through them becomes advantageous and creating outcomes that benefit her.
  • Player: This game falls under the category of Player vs. Game, as Max finds out about her powers, uncovering information that she had no perception of prior to her finding out about her powers.

Overall, this was a really great play. The type of fun this game intends for is thriller and mystery solving. I personally experienced these types of fun very well, so I’d say that it accomplishes them very well. I do wish, however, to have had more free-world options, as the story was fairly limited in interactions when it comes to exploring the different choices that the game could offer. However, this does not detract from the game extensively, and the game is great as it is without such fix.

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