Here I am going to put a potential spoiler warning for Oxenfree. I guess.
Recently I ran through the game Oxenfree because it was recommended to me through the majesty of the YouTube algorithm. It has sat in my wish list for quite awhile until I finally caught it on sale in the Nintendo eShop. I have accumulated some thoughts.
At first I thought the style they went with was strange for a thriller-esk story. The teeny tiny character models reminded me of Poly Pocket, and at first I did not like it. But when the creepy shit started to happen it really put into scope just how small they are compared to these locations you’d explore. However, if you think the people are hard to see then the items are freaking miniscule. I did play this on the Switch so maybe you won’t have this big of an issue with it on PlayStation or on a tv.
One aspect of the game I really enjoyed was the real time conversational flow of the dialogue. Chat bubbles for Alex’s dialogue choices slowly fade over time as the other characters are talking. This makes conversation feel very organic. Alex will interrupt others or wait her turn. In some points of the game silence naturally feels like the best option, and just let the words fade out of the air.
I enjoyed the idea of the plot, initially. Using the radio was an absolute delight that I wish was utilized more in learning about the island. The abrupt inclusion of notes scattered around locations you have already been to instead of radio transmissions was disappointing. As time went on, I slowly realized that there wasn’t going to be closure for this game. Which I find to be the case for several indie games currently. Almost as if they are trying to force some kind of intrigue by leaving unanswered questions at the end. But honestly, it just makes it feel lazy. Like, what the heck is up with Clarissa? Yeah, sure, her boyfriend died. But that does not answer why she was so easily possessed by submarine ghosts, or where she even went to after having the “training test” at the boat house. Also her making a complete 360 turn before the credits is jarring. I understand that there are multiple endings (sort of), but when I found out my ending was just another time loop I lost all interest. I’m not going through the game again to maybe see if its different. Sorry developers. Sorry fans.
There could have been something great. And I feel like people that enjoyed Night In The Woods like I did would get a kick out of the concepts presented here. Now I see there is an Oxenfree 2 released, as well as DLC. All I can say is, maybe I’ll go back into this world whenever the sequel goes on sale.
All in all, great journey but bad destination.