Oxenfree II: Lost Signals – Review

Oxenfree was a story about relationships as much as it was about the supernatural, a mature coming-of-age tale that felt grounded thanks to cracking voice acting and an intriguing plot. Seven years after its release, Lost Signals proves to be a sequel worthy of its predecessor. While it revisits many of the mechanics of the first game, it also ties together loose threads while introducing you to a new cast of likeable characters.

It’s an amazing game on its own, but an even better one if you are familiar with what came before it. Oxenfree 2’s got a much more condensed crew this time, but it’s not any worse for it; in fact, it’s an even better time since the script now only has to account for only a handful of individuals, and let me tell you, they are certainly a unique bunch.

Another addition is a walkie-talkie that you can use to communicate with various characters as the night progresses, including a paranormal investigator, a park ranger, and a teen radio DJ. These walkie-talkie conversations are a welcome change and add a bit of freshness to the game. I genuinely loved keeping tabs on the side characters and assisting them when they needed it. The extra story beats help flesh out the island of Camena and make it feel less lonely. There’s even a romance subplot that amusingly plays out quite differently than the romance subplot in the first game.

The puzzles you’re presented with to pull yourself out of time loops are different this time around, but they still lack any sort of challenge. Oxenfree’s mechanics were fairly simple, and it feels like Night School squandered an opportunity to showcase gameplay that’s more in-depth with the sequel. It would have been nice to experience some kind of puzzles or mechanics that required more from me than simply matching shapes or tuning a radio. Radio static is guaranteed to be spooky (just look at Silent Hill), but after so much time spent turning a dial, it loses some of its initial effect.

Oxenfree 2’s story takes around ten hours to push through if you’re naturally inclined to fully explore every nook and cranny of the game in search of its few collectables, but it’s possible to finish it in around half that time if you streamline it. However, it’s not recommended to rush through this game, as its writing and acting are worth experiencing to completion.

Oxenfree 2 is a choice-driven experience as well, and it does an amazing job of making those choices not only feel important, but natural. Despite being the kind of game that some players will assuredly go through with a guide to try and get the “best” ending, experiencing it all raw makes you feel even more immersed in the unfolding moments. I was never quite sure when a moment was a scripted hallway of horrors or a genuine chance at forging my own path forward, so every time the narrative stakes rose – a character close to death or an interrogation on the brink of failure – I felt myself at the edge of my seat making sure I gave it my all, whether it ultimately mattered or not.

8.5/10 star rating

Platforms: PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Android, iOS, Microsoft Windows, Mac operating systems

Developer: Night School Studio

Publishers: Netflix, MWM Interactive





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