Supernatural mystery graphic adventure, ahoy! From American indie team Night School Studio, OXENFREE launched in January 2016.
It plays on coming-of-age stories and teen films, being very story-driven and encouraging players to drive the narrative. Cool beans, man!
Embrace the Supernatural in OXENFREE
OXENFREE presents itself as something of an interactive movie, one free from cut scenes.
It is a graphic adventure, one presented in 2.5D in the way INSIDE (2016) managed so magnificently.
The title uses the walk and talk gaming mechanic that many indie games have popularised, where speech bubbles appear over character’s heads. From this, you get a choice of three dialogue options to help shape the story as you play.
As for the plot, you take control of Alex as he heads on the last ferry to Edwards Island. She’s going for a party to meet her friends, all with various personalities.
And what follows is kind of like a Breakfast Club, but for the paranormal.
Alex and her friend Jonas find all sorts of weird things going on in the woods of the island. They explore it all to discover objects moving independently and time looping.
They then must debate and explore around the island to stop the time rift.
OXENFREE was well received by the gaming press, receiving much critical acclaim for its innovative take on gaming narratives.
It’s a game we enjoyed a lot, too, although we will note it’s not for everyone.
In some respects it reminds us of Firewatch, a sense of brooding exploration and much dialogue drives you towards a revelation.
OXENFREE launched in the same month as that did, back in January 2016, and both have been instrumental in developing out this walk and talk genre of indie games.
Visually, the title is great to look at. And the dialogue trees are good fun to navigate through, kind of like a Choose Your Own Adventure book.
Plus, musician scntfc (Andrew Rohrmann) composed the game’s soundtrack. And it’s all rather nice.
The whole work is impressive, we must say, so credit to him.
And Night School Studio, as OXENFREE stands as something of an iconic cult classic in the indie game world.
The Sequel! OXENFREE II is Soon
To note, the sequel to the 2016 original is impending! Like, it’ll be here sometime soon.
We’ve seen some sources suggest it should already be out, but the official Steam page says it’s set for 2022.
So, yes, if the first one appealed to you… we’re guessing this majigger will as well!