Double Back: A Life Is Strange review.


Developed by: Dontnod Entertainment.

Published by: Square Enix.

Formats: Xbox One, PS4, PC.

The current trend of episodic gaming is a booming success, with the like of Telltale’s output and Edios recent success turning the Hitman franchise into an episodic format, it is a model that allows the developers more time to tweak and refine their game to give the punters their monies worth. One of the most impressive episodic games I have played in the last 12 month has to be the fantastic Life Is Strange.

Max Caulfield is your typical outcast teen in Pacific mid-western America, She’s more than a little nerdy, loves indie rock and an avid photography student. One day Max is party to a shooting at her high school and in that horrific moment becomes aware that she has the ability to control time, she rewinds the incident and saves a girls life but what future ramifications can this one act of disobedience of the natural order of things hold for the residents of Arcadia Bay?

Life Is Short has a fairly standard but no less intuitive action/adventure game format at its heart with the added mechanic of time travel. At the click of a trigger button, any choice you make that can affect the games outcome can be rewound and approached differently, but not always for the better in the long term, this game plays heavily with the concept of causality and in particular, chaos theory. Any action, not matter how small or seemingly insignificant can have lasting and catastrophic effects.

This game is beautifully designed and it’s core mechanics work perfectly. The voice acting can be a little cagey at times but on the whole it is pretty solid. One of the stand out features of Life Is Strange is it’s lovingly crafted score and carefully curated soundtrack by frontman of French indie rockers Syd Matters, Jonathon Morali. Morali has assembled a great collection of artists, from his own band to José González to Bright Eyes, it is a wonderful collection of indie folk and indie rock that suit the mood of the game perfectly and feel as essential as any character.

If you are a fan of the episodic output of the Telltale games series and their approach to game design, you will feel quite at home with Life Is Strange. It is an engaging and well written mystery that will keep you engrossed & engaged to the end.

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