Saturday, October 16th, 2021

Oxenfree II: Lost signal looks like Oxenfree, but better

Image: Night School Studio

An unforgettable, narratively experimental Oxenfree, in 2016, several serious nervous supernatural events and coming-of-age ceremonies, including something waiting beyond radio, triangles, and space-time rifts. Combining the stories of, we’re back in an enthusiastic review.

In addition to Oxenfree’s unique tone, aesthetics and settings, its ambitious dynamic dialogue system has soared into a league of studios focused on other great stories, along with names such as Campo Santo and Telltale. As a result, it wasn’t too surprising to know that Night School would be the first video game studio to be acquired by Netflix, as the streaming giant is preparing to move into game development.

Oxenfree II screen 3
Image: Night School Studio

But we’re not here to talk about Netflix contracts. We’re here to talk about the first look at Oxenfree II: LostSignals, the sequel we saw in a recent online conference with developers. Unveiled earlier this year at Nintendo’s Indie World Showcase and released by MWM Interactive, the game is more movie-inspired and exciting in its first game, leveraging its nightschool experience. I’ve taken everything in and turned up the volume.

The teenage Alex and Oxenfree buddies have been superseded by the old cast. Riley Poverley is Jacob, an environmental researcher and her past friend who has returned to her hometown of Camana.The two accompany each other as Riley tries to learn more about a local mysterious cult called “Parentage” that she is trying to bring in by opening a portal. Something Through — something dangerous.

Oxenfree II screen 2
Image: Night School Studio

Many Oxenfree IIs, like the first game, involve walking from place to place, solving light environmental puzzles, and making dialogue choices while Riley and Jacob chat with each other. There are moments of tension that spring from the choices you make — Riley fell off a cliff at some point because she was overconfident in jumping — and there are various consequences that can have a snowball effect. .. You might even miss a particular branch because you took too long to say something or didn’t wait too long. Sufficient..

Of course, art really made the first game stand out when it came out, and it’s better than ever. The “painterly” feel is similar, but more detailed. There are now maps with lots of notes added as you progress to remind you of the quests you’ve done and what you’ve learned. It’s a very nice touch and makes the game look very organic — much like the fellow West Coast story exploration game Firewatch.

Oxenfree II screen 6
Image: Night School Studio

Of course, it’s all very similar to Oxenfree. This is probably welcome news for those who enjoyed the first game, what’s new? You may ask.

Well, first of all, there is a fresh mechanism centered around the transceiver that Riley has. The device may receive a cold call. This is from the inhabitants of Camana or from the mystery originator, and Riley can choose whether to respond. From time to time, these phones can guide her or give her a quest. At other times they will just crawl you. In the preview, Riley doesn’t seem to know anything at first glance, but there’s a phone call from someone who says “I know who this is” … and, mysteriously, they “tell you it.” Gives space to understand. ” Intriguing!

Speaking of eerie, there are many eerie events that have made Oxenfree so fascinating: weird anomalies indicate a terrifying future flashforward or premonition in which the body floats prone on a lake and splits into parallel dimensions. You can take you to a long-forgotten era where it may turn out that Riley can influence the future by tinkering with the past.

In the preview, I saw Riley and Jacob stuck in a collapsed mine. And they were forced to find and step through the time portal in 1899, when the mine shaft elevator was working … maybe it was the cause of the mine collapse in the first place just to find it. not. Well, it’s a kind of confusing time paradox we signed up for!

The writing is more mature in harmony with the new and old characters who have cheeky and ironic jokes between them. Riley looks pretty deadpan and dry, and Jacob looks like a little nervous nerd who can’t stop talking — in a loving way.

Oxenfree II screen 4
Image: Night School Studio

So far, Oxenfree II: Lost Signals seems to be shaped to do almost the same thing. atmosphere What the original Oxenfree did, and in fact, the developers went back to Oxenfree and added some interesting updates that narratively connect the two games.

It’s neither a spin-off nor a completely different sequel. This is a similar setting with new characters, new mechanics, new themes to explore, and a new color palette, changing the game from the green and red of the previous game to the orange of autumn. Frankly, that’s exactly what we wanted. A more sophisticated and experienced take on the timely swimming triangle horror of the first game.

Oxenfree II: Lost Signals is scheduled for release in 2022.