There is something about putting teenagers in supernatural horror scenarios that makes for a compelling story. Oxenfree from Night School School provides evidence of this by being a haunting experience with inexperienced protagonists. It’s been quite some time since the game was released for PC but Netflix has recently brought the game to mobile. Now people can play through the strange phenomena in an atmospheric and disturbing adventure.
OLLY OLLY OXENFREE
An unusual but understandable trend is giving horror stories childish names. With Oxenfree, the name is quite fitting in more ways than one. The game follows Alex, a teenager who decides to attend a beach party on a secluded island with her friends. The group includes her best friend Ren, new step-brother Jonas, and acquaintances Clarissa and Nona. With the island deserted and very little to do, Alex and her friends decide to explore a nearby cave, pursuing rumors of strange radio signals. After tuning into a freaky frequency, everyone is scattered, and it’s up to Alex to find them and get everyone to safety. And maybe, while you’re at it, you can find the source behind the signals.
OXENFREE DRAWS YOU IN AND MAKES YOU CURIOUS
Horror games have become plagued by jump scares while true horror can have a slow burn causing the fear to grow over time. This is one of the greatest strengths of Oxenfree. The game is paced so well considering its heavy narrative focus. All the characters feel real with solid voice-acting and emotion coming through everything they say. The environments are subtle yet detailed, making you want to look at the scenery carefully for clues. There’s this whole feeling that everything is “off-balance” which continues throughout the game and emphasizes the creepier elements.
It has both horror and mystery elements that strike an effective balance. Whenever you encounter a scary moment, you want it to be over but at the same time, you want to play it out. The horror of the game makes you want to run through as quickly as possible, while the mystery continues to prod your curiosity that you need to satisfy by going further into danger. The radio is the perfect tool for this as you’re able to pull it out whenever you want and when you turn that dial, you’re guaranteed to hear something strange.
OXENFREE CAN BE DEMANDING
Sometimes the reason it takes so long to translate a game to mobile is simply due to how much it has. Oxenfree can be a heavy game and it shows. It’s most evident in certain sections with some sort of environmental effect like strange lighting or fog where things begin to lag so much. It also doesn’t help that Alex can only achieve the top speed of a light jog, something that doesn’t really fit with a dangerous horror situation. It’s recommended that you tap to move rather than drag, otherwise you’ll be obscuring a lot of the game which already has a zoomed-out perspective.
There’s also a small issue with the music in that it can be SO LOUD on occasion. It’s most noticeable when there’s lots of dialogue that forces you to read the subtitles. There’s currently no way to lower just the music, something the developers should consider fixing.
PLAYING A GAME OF OXENFREE
Oxenfree is a 2D narrative supernatural horror game about Alex and her friends investigating strange radio signals on an isolated island. It nails the impact of slow-building horror and provides a great mystery to keep you wondering all while moving at a good pace. You’ll just need to ignore the lagging parts as you tap around the screen and try to endure the fitting, but high-volume music. If folks are going to be staring at their phones for long periods of time, they should take the chance to experience the thrills and intrigue of Oxenfree.
WHERE TO DOWNLOAD OXENFREE FOR FREE
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