Story games are not exactly a mainstay for me, but every now and again something special comes along. The game, Oxenfree, by Night School Studio is one such. I initially picked up a copy of this game as a side effect of linking my Amazon Prime account to my Twitch profile, and after watching the preview on YouTube I decided to give it a shot.
The voice dialogue immediately sucked me into the game along with the painterly backdrop and the soundtrack, which I would best describe as both eerie and cheerful. The dialogue does an excellent job of driving the story along and providing you with just enough information to keep you hungry for more as you try to solve the mysteries of Edwards Island, and ultimately save the main character (Alex) and her friends from a horrible fate. The story is a wonderful blend of Scooby Doo, the X-Files and even has some well timed events that do an excellent job of raising the hairs on your arms as you play.
I had already finished the game a while ago, and run through the second, third and even fourth playthroughs to see what additional information I might dig up along the way. On a whim I decided to fire it back up again, and I had spent enough time away that much of the story and dialogue felt very fresh even though I had a good idea of what the outcome would be. Knowing this ahead of time did not make the game any worse, if anything it motivated me to see if I could find a better win condition.
Afterward, on a whim I decided to see what I could find on the internet about the island and the places of interest, and as it turns out Edwards Island appears to be directly inspired by Bainbridge Island in Washington, just west of Seattle. I won't spoil the story any more than this other than to recommend checking out the history of the Bainbridge Island Metro Park at some point after you have completed the main storyline.
If you haven't already played Oxenfree, I highly recommend checking it out. Stay tuned for some lore theory related posts about this game sometime in the near future. Also, Night School Games has another game in the works but will ultimately make a sequel to Oxenfree, something I am very much looking forward to play.