Oxenfree is the kind of game that is difficult to write about without giving something away.
In the tradition of the best the adventure genre has to offer, Oxenfree is a game about discovery, with its writers weaving an intricate mystery for you to solve.
All I knew going in was what the blurb on its Steam store page said, and I would recommend that anyone interested in the game go in with as little information about the setting and plot as possible.
That said, unlike many adventure games, Oxenfree has the kind of story that simultaneously made me want to replay it immediately and just sit and contemplate it for awhile.
Oxenfree’s story is driven through dialogue that is exquisitely written and performed, presented in much the same way as a Telltale Games adventure.
Adam Hines, co-founder of Night School Studio, formerly worked at Telltale as a lead writer on Tales from the Borderlands.
The one big difference between Oxenfree and other adventure games is that conversations do not interrupt exploration. It sounds trivial — many games have characters talking while moving with the player. What makes Oxenfree unique, though, is that the dialogue is interactive throughout.
While it has some 2D platforming elements, Oxenfree really only has two main mechanics, one of which is the dialogue system. The other, without giving much away, is an FM radio that is introduced early on.
Using just these two mechanics and a beautifully drawn world, developer Night School Studio weaves an amazing, immersive tale.
Oxenfree is a fairly short game — you can finish it in the time it takes to read a 300–400 page book. And like a good book, it’s the kind of story that will linger with you long after you’ve turned the last page.
Author’s note: As a courtesy to other readers, please refrain from posting spoilers in the comments. If you want to discuss anything related to Oxenfree’s plot, head through to our forum, which supports [spoiler] tags.
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