I didn’t know what I was getting myself in to when I fired up Oxenfree. I knew it was an indie game that came out last year and that a lot of people really liked it, and it was known to have a lot of charm, but I was not prepared to be so completely enraptured with it.
Technically I am guessing you could call Oxenfree a 2.5D walking simulator since the gameplay is mostly walking around and solving lightweight puzzles, but really it is a conversation simulator because unlike most walking games in Oxenfree you are never alone. There is always someone there to chat with, and the game’s three button, three dialog choice gameplay, is really fun. Seeing how Alex’s (the main character) friends react to the things you have her say is constantly engaging.
Oxenfree’s story revolves around five friends who just wanted to have a fun weekend trip on one of the Pacific Northwest’s many costal Islands. In this case the fictional Edwards Island. Things obviously go sideways, but that is all that I am going to tell you. However, if you liked Stranger Things, you will like Oxenfree. Watching the story unfold was fascinating. It was some of the best fiction I have watched/interacted with in a long time, and knowing that it all could have played out differently had I chosen to walk and talk to different people or said different things makes me want to play it again.
Right now if you are an Xbox Live Gold member you can download Oxenfree for free, and you need to download it. Though it is worth the $20 it usually goes for on just about every other platform under the sun. It is so fun and the story is so engrossing that I feel I should apologize for the couple of nights of lost sleep you are going to have while you finish the game. Maybe even more if you choose to play it again to see things go down differently, but some things are worth loosing sleep over.