Sunday, 24 January 2016

App Review No. 98 Lifeline

Strong Points:
Great story
Likeable character
Immersive
Ingenious control system
Nice HUD
Good audio
Taylor becoming 'busy' is a good way to extend the game

Weak Points:
Sometimes the gap between parts of the story is too long
No voice-overs
Some paths become obvious/no way to avoid
Too short
Some parts are never explained


In-depth Review:

Release Dates:
World Wide: 16th April 2015

Controls:
Tap one of two options to progress in story

You know you're having a bad day when the best thing about it is that your spaceship has only split into two parts. Thus is the life of Taylor, stranded on a far out moon with only rat food, an indestructible sense of humour (for better or worse) and a far off stranger to keep him company. You are this stranger and it is your job to keep Taylor alive by talking to him and making every decision for him. The way you do this is the ingenious part of the game, at least to our human eyes.

Using your phone or Apple Watch (probably the best way to experience this game), you read the story as it goes along and respond when Taylor exclaims or asks a question, using one of two responses. The way you can do this is the special part though. Each line of text appears as a notification and by swiping right, you can choose your response. This, simultaneously makes the game a more immersive experience and gives a use for the response part of the notifications besides the 'mark as read' for an email. Taylor also becomes busy for a while, which allows you to digest the information and plan for the next step as well as a clever little way to make the game longer and more realistic.

The story is the main focus of the game as there is no 'gameplay' in a sense. You grow to really care about your character and feel a sense of loss when something goes wrong. I have done two playthroughs with the first ending quite badly. After pushing Taylor to keep going into the night, he closed his eyes and... Yeah. After climbing out of the pit of despair I found myself in, I tried again and got to the end although I did start seeing paths laid out in front of me that I didn't see in the first run through, such as a definite 'choose this option and you won't survive'.

This is my main problem with the game because not matter how multi-layered a game is (and this one is definitely that), it can never have enough options for you to have a completely personalised adventure. It is a game after all and not a substitute for real life (shame)!

The graphics and music fit the games atmosphere of space and mystery well and while it would've been cool to have voice overs, or maybe answer with your voice, I'm not sure if this would break the immersion/be impossible, but it's nice to dream.

Conclusion: overall, I really like this game and grew to really care for the characters, even if I only spent a short time with them. Hopefully the sequels can keep it up!

Rating: 92%

Thanks for reading, Satamer.

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