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Oxenfree

Oxenfree is a supernatural thriller about a group of friends who unwittingly open a ghostly rift. Play as Alex, a bright, rebellious teenager who brings her new stepbrother Jonas to an overnight party on an old military island. The night takes a terrifying turn when you unwittingly open a ghostly gate spawned from the island’s cryptic past. How you deal with these events, your peers, and the ominous creatures you’ve unleashed is up to you.
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Game Discussion

Review by Anonymous
Review from Steam

+Pros
+An interesting narrative that requires replayability to unlock the rest of the story
+Visually appealing
+ Ambience sets the tone for the environment
+Voice acting is done incredibly well
+Simple game mechanics
+Exploration


-Cons
-Music can be loud and cannot be turned off
-Sounds that happen throughout are too loud
-Conversations tend to cut off or overlap
-A few places where the movement gets sticky


Sit by this campfire, won’t you?
I won’t spoil anything, but I’ll keep it short and sweet. You play as Alex, a female teenager in her senior year of high school. You meet up with a few other friends on a beach to get drunk while enjoying the last few months of school. As everyone is getting under the influence, you and your step-brother, Jonas, decide to do some exploration. What they discover sets the mood throughout the entire game. Alex will find clues, solve riddles, and question the possibilities as she tries to find a resolution to this mystery.

I was intrigued by this storyline. The fact I had to start it a second time to get different answers or outcomes makes the replayability alone worth it. Even though the game in the first playthrough is short, new opportunities open up when you replay it. From what I’ve read, some people have finished three to four times to get the full conclusion of Oxenfree.

As a side note: this title is a thriller with some spookiness attached. I, like so many others, don’t enjoy jump scares. But it did deliver a chilling experience in my playthrough.


Shall we take a stroll?
Movements and controlling Alex is simple. Using the mouse button (left click) also makes it an easier endeavor when motioning her throughout the world. There will be times such as cliffs, ladders, and sometimes stairs where Alex thinks she’s too good to follow directions. The character will move the opposite way, stall, or act as she is about to get off the stairs and then doesn’t.

Alex also has a radio on her. This helps her with radiofrequency throughout her adventures. Random radio stations will pop up, white noise, random noises, or maybe a discussion or two. This helps build up the atmosphere as you traverse and collect your findings.

There is enough exploration to keep one engaged in finding all the clues – either for total completion or to know the entire story. I personally did not complete all the discoveries.


What’s that over there?
Visually this game looks great. If you’re expecting Call of Duty graphics – don’t. Their hard work in displaying such an environment that gives you a creepy perception, or a sense of being watched demonstrates such passion in this product. The artwork is dark, cold, and ominous and that might be because the location is in Washington State, located on an island, or the general atmosphere. I personally lived there so I did pick up on the Washington vibes rather quickly. The state does have some creepy locations. Add some rain, bitter cold, and you can make the care bears lose a stuffing or two.


The voice actors were phenomenal. You could hear their emotions, from being scared, from jumping to joy, and even embracing sadness. I enjoy it when I can pick up on someone’s emotion especially from a video game. This tells me they really put their full effort into making us feel some type of way during gameplay.

The ambiance of the settings from echoing caverns to deserted locations gives you a sense of confusion and desperation. Everything about it made it feel gritty, cold, and even spooky at times. It kept me focused and in suspense to avoid me from being caught off-guard. Sounds such as footsteps, something falling, doors opening, etc., were clear and you could tell what the sounds were. The music throughout wasn’t rash or unrealistic; it set the tone for the scene.

Now, onto some of the issues, I’ve had throughout MY playthrough experience. First, the conversations would cut off if you were to give off an answer too quickly. This ruined some of the discussions, or background information I was trying to obtain between the characters. Secondly, some noises are way too loud for the environment. I’m not sure if this was a ploy to make it a jump scare or simply deafen your ears, but if wearing a headset would give your ears some traumatic effect. Thirdly, with that being said, there was no volume bar. At times the music would roar through the dialogue which made it difficult to understand the characters. Alas, no option for turning the music off. I’m not sure if the music was tied into the ambiance, but having the selection to turn off or at least turn down the tunes would have been welcoming.

A Ferry Ride Home
All in All, this was a great thriller experience. I’m not into scary games, but this does not provide jump scares like most of the horror games out there. The loud noises did give off a volt or two in my nerves, but then who wouldn’t be if someone just ran behind you as you’re reading an interesting chapter of a book and then bangs two pots together.


For such a quick game, it does offer replayability. It adds to the next round when you start over again. You’ll have options and items that previously were not there around the first playthrough. From the voice acting to atmosphere to the artwork that was portrayed, this is a gem of a game.

Review from Steam

Playing status: 100% achievement, 4x playthroughs
Grindy Achievement(s): No.
Optional Achievement(s): Yes (~10 achievements).
Difficult Achievement(s): No.
Intro
Oxenfree is a horror adventure game about a group of youngsters that are exploring an island. Despite being a horror game, the game is quite mild on its "jump scares". It focuses more on the story, allowing you to engage in a conversation with the group and respond to their conversations as you play.
Pros:
- 2 endings with slight variations to the ending
- Freedom to choose whether you want to answer or not to a statement, which affects how other people respond to you
Cons:
- Bug when climbing on cliffs with mouse
- It takes a long time to wait for the cutscenes to finish
Specs
Intel Core i5-9300H 2.40GHz, 8GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
Should you buy this game?
Yes.
If you like story-driven adventure games with a horror theme, buy this game on a sale.
In-Depth Review
Visuals
Oxenfree might look like a 2D game at first glance, but characters are actually made in 3D. They all look simple to make them recognizable from afar. The beautiful-looking environment that surrounds the characters as you play will captivate you more than the characters though. Backgrounds look unique with their detailed textures, lush greeneries, and color gradients.
Story
The game focuses more on character interactions, letting you see the youngsters bickering with each other as you play. It's fun to see the contrast between each characters' personality, whether from their sarcasm or lively conversations. The design that allows me to do whatever I want as I listened to the conversation also makes me feel like I'm in the game, talking to the group as I do my own thing.
The game will let you experience the story like watching a movie. Characters will talk as you play and you'll be given 2-3 dialogues to choose from whenever it's your turn to talk. While it's up to you whether you want to choose to respond or not, your choice will affect how people see you. It's nice to see the subtle details that the game put for this.
Your decision will change the ending. There are roughly 2 endings that you can choose from with a lot of variations on them. Your conversation between characters will decide your relationships with them in the future, for the best or worse.
The game does a good job introducing its mysterious element. The island that you visited has a lot of hidden secrets within, and from it, you can theorize what was happening. Some parts of the game will leave you confused at first, although the game will try to explain everything to you at the end. If you are the type who likes to theorize, this is one of those games that will put your skills to use.
The Game
Gameplay
Sadly, the gameplay is the part that I hate most about the game. It's mostly just walking around from place to place with you having to listen to the characters talking. Sometimes, the screen will glitch out to give a "jump scare", although I don't find it to be scary at all. The thing is, exploring the area can be annoying due to the bug that happens when you are traversing through the cliffs. Your character will keep on climbing up and down whenever you are about to land if you use a mouse, and for your information, there are a lot of cliffs in the game. It took me a few playthroughs before I realized that I could mitigate it by using a keyboard or controller.
You'll have a radio in hand, and with it, you can tune in to different radio stations to hear what it says. The stations aren't what you'll need the radio for though. The radio acts as an intermediary between the strange occurrence that happened in the game, and you need to use it to any anomalies that you find. The static sound that the radio gives can also give you chills after a while.
It can take time to find the radio station that you are looking for. Although the radio feature might be interesting at first, it can get old after playing the game a few times. You need to change the radio frequency with your mouse carefully, and there are just too many frequencies that you need to move, especially near the end of the game. I wished there is an option to automatically adjust them to the right frequencies.
Length and Replayability
I finished the game in 5h. I took my time on my first playthrough since I wanted to get all collectibles that the game has to offer. There are extra secrets that you can read from them to let you know what was happening on the island. If you are an achievement hunter, a minimum of 3 playthroughs are needed to 100% the game.
As for the replayability, the game will change a bit in your second playthrough. You'll be teleported to new areas for new conversations and theories. Some "jump scares" will also last longer to let you see the image that showed up. As I said before, the "jump scares" aren't scary at all - the most that you'll do is to be surprised by its sudden appearance.
Problems
Sometimes, the game is bugged when you are trying to proceed the game too fast. It also takes too long to finish the game on your subsequent playthrough, especially since you have to wait for the characters to finish talking most of the time.
Conclusion
Oxenfree does a good job to capture the horror and mysterious atmosphere without giving in to cheap jump scares. Sure, there might be some "jump scares" in the game, but they are not scary at all. The slight variations that the game presents based on your choice are also brilliant, especially when you see the differences between your first and second playthrough. However, the game can be boring if you play it too many times since you can't skip the repetitive dialogues. If you like to play a story-focused game with this theme, I still recommend you play the game, although you need to be aware of the cons before buying.
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Review from Steam

Was gifted this while having a migraine attack and did not fix the migraine. But was lots of fun, with good music, story and characters :)

Review from Steam

Originally bought this on ps4 out of nowhere and it instantly became one of my favorite indies. It's short, but memorable and has potential for replayability with other endings / choices if you'd like. Definitely worth trying as it's normally cheap these days, it's a very creative and unique experience that is better experienced going in blind. Can't wait for Oxenfree II :)

Review from Steam

The Best Game You've Never Played
I'm writing this review minutes after finishing this game. It's one of the most unique and thrilling experiences I've ever had.
I went in blind and found myself being blown away as the game kept on throwing new mind-blowing things at me. I am having a hard time writing this review cus frankly, I am baffled and still can't wrap my head around to what just happened!. I kept having "OMG WHATTT?!?!?!!" moments frequently, every time because of a unique reason. The game didn't feel repetitive at all. Not even when I thought "okay I've played enough videogames to know what I have to do now". So that was a pleasant surprise. One moment you are absolutely sure about what's gonna happen. The next thing you know, the game shows you just how wrong you were.
It's one of those games I'm scared of talking too much about because I'd hate to spoil even the tiniest thing.
Overall, it's one of those games that took me by surprise, and now it's one of my favorite games along with TW3 and LiS.
As many others said, I'd gladly forget everything and play this game all over again.
Thanks to my friend Sataareth for gifting me this hidden gem. And thanks to Night School Studios for making this wonderful game!
This was an experience I'd never forget.

Review from Steam

"When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it had happened or not. But soon I shall be so I cannot remember any... but the things that never happened."
Oxenfree is a supernatural thriller about a group of friends who take a trip to a local island. Aside from some tension and drama within the group, all is well until they use a radio to tune into something in a cave and unintentionally open a ghost rift. Doing this unleashes a paranormal force on the island which prevents the group from leaving. Alex (who you play as) and her friends work together to figure out what the force is and how to stop it in order to go back home.
The gameplay consists of walking, talking, and using a radio to tune into the supernatural world. You can pick dialogue choices that shape how you want the protagonist to be. A catty bitch, goody two shoes, or something in between? Entirely your choice, just know the characters will remember how you treat them which will be reflected in the ending you get. The writing in this game is brilliant. Just the way the characters interact with each other feels so real thanks to the voice actors. An unsettling ambiance is felt throughout the game due to the music, it really fits the vibe of the story.
One thing that did bug me is the dialogue choices sometimes faded away too quickly. I would like some time to listen to what the characters are saying, read the dialogue choices, and then interpret what those choices mean. The game just does not give you enough time to do all that. Once you pick a dialogue choice you'll interrupt what the currently speaking character is saying so I’m thinking about whether I want to finish hearing what the character has to say or pick a choice too quickly in fear of losing the chance to do so because I was too slow. If you’re a speedy reader or react quickly this won’t be a problem for you. If you're sometimes indecisive (like me) you'll wish for a bit more reaction time.
Don’t let that stop you from giving this game a chance though. It was still a very enjoyable game and I was able to understand the story and the characters, both are very well written. I’ve played this game numerous times and I thought now is a good time for a replay and an even better time for newcomers to play considering Oxenfree ll is right around the corner…hopefully.

Review from Steam

if youre a fan of mystery games where choices matter, this is for you!! there is a great atmosphere and soundtrack with an interesting story.