Oxenfree is a 2.5D mystery horror graphic adventure game that leaves me wanting more each time I finish it. If you’re like me and love a good graphic adventure like Inside and Firewatch, Oxenfree is the game for you.
Oxenfree is the debut game for developer and publisher, Night School Studio, and follows Alex, a teenager visiting an island with a group of friends for a party weekend. During their stay, the group accidentally unleashes a paranormal entity onto the island, which then drives Alex and his friends to figure out what this entity is and how to stop it.
Gameplay is nothing more than a walking simulator with interactable objects and puzzles scattered around the game world. The puzzles are solved by changing the frequency on the handheld radio to perform interactions such as changing the environment around you, unlocking doors or for communication with spirits.
However, the gameplay is entirely focused around the “walk and talk” feature of the game; instead of character interactions within cutscenes, dialogue occurs using two or three speech bubbles over Alex’s head. You can select a dialogue option whilst freely navigating the game world which allows for constant play instead of watching cutscenes repeatedly.
These dialogue options don’t only progress the story though, they also change the ending to the game completely. The player’s choices and relationships with other characters throughout the game can trigger one of several endings. Don’t worry, this isn’t an episodic Telltale adventure game where choices don’t seem to matter. The relationships feel meaningful and weigh heavy on the rest of the story, which is easily my favourite mechanic in Oxenfree and something other choice based, adventure games should implement. This mechanic results in a legitimate reason to replay through the game multiple times to get every ending.
Oxenfree is most definitely one of my favourite horror games over the last few years. Each playthrough I’ve done of this game has given me a deeper understanding of the world and how different interactions and choices can change the story dramatically.
If you are looking for a game with a fascinating, creepy story that will keep you on the edge of you seat, and make you want to come back for more, then Oxenfree is undoubtedly the game for you.