Oxenfree, a Charming and Vibrant Adventure into the Unknown
Oxenfree is a supernatural adventure video game, which takes inspiration from classic coming-of-age tales. The game was both developed and published by Night School Studio. It was released on January 15, 2016, for a variety of platforms, including PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Steam/PC. Holding many merits to its name, Oxenfree is a truly distinct and impressive title of the adventure genre.
This journey begins with a teenage girl, Alex, going to Edwards Island for an overnight party with her friends, and her new step brother, Jonas. The island is home to an old military outpost, which houses many secrets and tragedies. After the teens open a ghostly rift by using a strange radio, they slowly begin to unravel these mysteries. Throughout the game, players must make various choices; these determine the overall story, and what fate ultimately awaits Alex and her friends.
Why I Recommend This Game
There are many aspects that make Oxenfree a worthwhile, engaging experience. Among these numerous factors, are story, characters, sound design, and art style. This game features an engrossing plot, which remains entertaining all the way through. Moreover, the story is quite unique compared to other titles of the same genre. I really like that it features a lot of different aspects – horror, time-loops, war history. You might think having such differing parts would muddle the game as a whole. However, they blend together well, and collectively work to make Oxenfree the indie gem that it is.
In addition, this title boasts a cast of likeable, colorful characters. All of them are teenagers, which makes for an interesting conflict. Not only do the kids have to survive a terrifying situation, they also must figure out who they are as people. I liked the inclusion of this coming-of-age subplot, as it was enjoyable to watch the characters grow and change over time. Furthermore, these characters are relatable and easy to root for. They’re realistic enough to seem like people you’d know in real life; just ordinary, everyday people in an extraordinary situation.
In particular, I found Alex and Jonas to be quite engaging. It was satisfying to see how they developed from the beginning of the game, to the very end. Plus, I loved their interactions with each other. Even though these two were my favorites, I became attached to almost every character in the game. It’s safe to say I was emotionally invested in them, and the surrounding story.
Another positive point of Oxenfree is how well its gameplay mechanics work. There’s a conversation system that appears while Alex is interacting with her friends. This system includes multiple dialogue options and branching paths, which influence the story, along with the characters. It’s fairly simple and easy to understand. But, the main reason this function is so impressive, is its overall impact. Dialogue choices seem to genuinely alter the storyline, as well as Alex’s relationships with other characters.
The game features a large amount of decisions to make, and a variety of options for each one. There are many, many possibilities in Oxenfree. Due to these factors, the story feels very interactive. This is always nice with choice-based video games.
Moreover, this title has both a great soundtrack, and amazing voice acting. The background music has a distinct sound to it, one that fits well with the atmosphere. It’s also pleasant on the ears. Even more impressive, is the voice acting. Truly, the voice acting is fantastic, and suits each character so well. All the actors fully encompassed their roles; they captured layers and layers of emotion. As far as I know, none of the voice actors are teenagers. Yet, they were able to easily pass themselves as teens.
Oxenfree has a wide range of talented voice actors. Erin Yvette (The Wolf Among Us, Tales from the Borderlands) stars as the protagonist, Alex. Likewise, Jonas is played by Gavin Hammon (The Walking Dead Telltale series). Another of Alex’s friends, Ren, is voiced by Aaron Kuban (Jobs, CSI).
Last, but certainly not least, is the art of Oxenfree. The art style is incredibly vibrant and beautiful; it really is a visual treat. Furthermore, this style is very unique, and it adds even more personality to an already charming game. I’ve never seen any other art quite like it, which is a great thing.
There’s a plethora of reasons why this is a wonderful title. Some of these, are its intriguing plot, loveable characters, developed mechanics, and gorgeous art style. All these factors, and more, combine to make Oxenfree the amazing video game it is. Night School Studio really crafted something special with this one.
Official Oxenfree Press Kit- http://blog.pushove.com/presskitdemo/
Official Oxenfree Website- http://nightschoolstudio.com/oxenfree/
PlayStation Oxenfree Page- https://www.playstation.com/en-us/games/oxenfree-ps4/
Nintendo Oxenfree Page- https://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/oxenfree-switch/
Official IMDB Website- https://m.imdb.com/
PlayStation 4 Store Page- https://bit.ly/2zz4XW9
Xbox One Store Page- https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/oxenfree/bsk1gn27rb8r
Nintendo eShop Page- https://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/oxenfree-switch/
PC/Steam Store Page- https://store.steampowered.com/app/388880/Oxenfree/
All pictures were obtained from the official Oxenfree website and the official Oxenfree press kit. I was granted permission to use them from Night School Studio.