Life is Strange is an episodic thriller game developed by Dontnod Entertainment. It’s a story-driven point-and-click with some puzzle elements. You play Max, a young woman who recently moved back to her childhood town in order to study photography. In this small fishing village, you discover you have the ability to alter time. Together with your old friend Chloe, you try to figure out what to do with your new found superpower – maybe you can help her find Rachel, another student who’s gone missing?
First thing first: Yes, you will be able to alter time. That means that for all of you that saves before every dialogue in every RPG game and who enjoys doing things slow and methodically, this game will speak to your soul. You will be able to try one solution, see what happens, change time, try another solution, until you find your preferred outcome. You can also use the information you gained in one timeline to change the outcome of another. This means that you are encouraged to take things slow, listen to all the dialogue, and to explore all your options.
This game is not about difficult puzzles, even though having control over time means you need to think outside of the normal puzzle-solving box. You will always have a clear objective on what to do and the solutions are usually straightforward with a few variants on how to solve the current objective. It’s also important to mention that this is NOT an old school point-and-click adventure game with an open world and a large inventory. This is a story game, and the game will take you from scene to scene as the story progresses. Each location is very limited and once you’ve finished one scene you’ll be taken to the next, with no way of going back to the previous one. It is a railroaded story, although one that shifts somewhat depending on the choices you make.
This is a story game and the main takeaway is just that; the story. You will be playing it because of the delightful twists and turns of events, the narration, the music. Several times I just sat down, listened to the background music and meditated on the surroundings. I also had to leave the computer a couple of times just to give myself the time to process what was happening and consider my options. The game made me smile, it surprised me, and it sent shivers of fear down my spine.
I love a story where the fear and paranoia creeps up on you – no jumpscares, no obvious monsters. This game brings just that; A feeling that something terribly wrong is lurking just around the corner, but always too far away for you to expose it.