I am really digging all of the episodic, point-and-click games that have suddenly become so popular. We all definitely have Telltale Games to thank for this trend, and of course, one of the biggest questions that comes into play with the popularity is how many copycats will we have? DONTNOD has their own episodic series, Life is Strange, of which the first episode released last week. Thankfully, DONTNOD has their own unique gameplay spin, separating it from any other would-be copycats: the ability to rewind time.
This ability is the game’s lifesaving feature, because otherwise, aside from the beautiful art direction, the game would be rather trite and stale. Here’s snippet from my review over on Action Trip:
Of course, as this is a story about high school, one must bring on the angst and drama. Nothing goes the way Max envisioned it. She has a lot of trouble making friends, despite the fact that this one rather cute boy quite obviously has a crush on her that she doesn’t see, she feels like she’s floundering in class even though her teacher hero says she has a rare gift, and the popular, rich kids go out of their way to make fun of her. In so many ways, it seemed like Twilight merged a bit with Mean Girls. I could feel my eyes rolling hard to the back of my head as it became apparent the developer really wanted ME to connect with Max. Look at her; she’s a self-proclaimed geeky girl who isn’t popular and has no confidence in herself. Wasn’t that YOU in high school, dear gamer? While yes, that was me in high school, too many books/movies/games have tried that heartstring to relate to me in the past. Let’s pick a new schtick, mmmkay?
Thankfully, there is a twist beyond the teenage angst. While Max is trying to recover from a troubling dream she had whilst awake, two other kids barrel into the bathroom and one ends up getting killed. During her shock at witnessing such a horrific event, she somehow develops the ability to rewind time, which then allows her to change events. In this case, she was able to save one of her classmates.
Max can rewind time at nearly any point in the game, save a few cut scenes, but then she can rewind time after the cut scene completes. The only times Max cannot rewind time are after leaving scenes, which suggests she can only rewind a few minutes at a time. Rewinding time serves two purposes throughout the game: solving puzzles and making decisions.
Want to read more? Please go check out the rest of the review and find out if Life is Strange is worth your investment. I recommend at least giving the first episode a try, if you like this genre.