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Life is Strange explores the mundane and miraculous


The new indie game provides a normal, modern-day setting for an incredible story

Stylized and artsy in every sense of the word, Life is Strange is the newest game from developers Dontnod Entertainment and Square Enix. The game circles around 18-year old Max Caulfield, who discovers that she has the power to reverse time.

The game seems more like an indie movie than a video game at times. Filled with beautiful scenery, unique and relatable characters, and a peaceful soundtrack, players are in for a treat.

The story is told in chapters. The first chapter was released in January, with subsequent chapters being released every seven weeks. Developers have announced that there will be five chapters total. So far, only two chapters have been released, Chrysalis and Out of Time, and both have been captivating from start to finish.

The entire story centers around the choices made by the player, although choices can easily be changed given that the main character has the ability to reverse time. Characters will react differently to Max depending on how she interacts with them, and certain actions will have potentially deadly consequences.

There is a lot of room for exploration in the world of the game, although there is always one ultimate destination the player arrives at. There are plenty of objects to examine and interact with, and there are numerous non-playable characters the player can engage with and learn useful information.

Each characters is interesting and likeable, with a few obvious exceptions in the antagonists. Though the dialogue is at times a little awkward in its attempt to sound hip and cool, for the most part the interactions between characters can be amusing or heart-wrenching, sensitive or alarming.

Despite each character being endearing, most of them are cliched stereotypes of American high schoolers. Bullies, jocks, hipsters, punks, geeks and snobby rich kids abound. Although the characters could have easily been depicted as two-dimensional and shallow, they all have hidden depths that make them more complex than they appear.

Set in the modern day American Northwest, there is an air of mystery and enchantment in the town of Arcadia Springs reminiscent of the cult classic TV show Twin Peaks. With various plot lines including a missing girl, abusive parents, scandalous viral videos, and impending doom in the form of a massive tornado, the game covers most bases.

The art in this game is stunning and captivating, resembling hand-drawn animation as opposed to the realistic CGI animation found in many modern video games. Full of vibrant colors and beautiful graphics, the game is a pleasure to look at.

The game uses primarily a point-and-click style of gameplay, with a few rare exceptions. Despite being simple to use and easy to understand, it can at times be dull. The only added element of excitement can be found in the ability to reverse time, which allows players to look at sensitive information, get in trouble, reverse time and get away with it.

Ultimately, this is a coming-of-age story. Although there are fantasy elements, the game is primarily about friendship, growing up, and coming to terms with change. There is an underlying nostalgia present throughout the entire game, as well as some cliches that make the characters admittedly more endearing, such as walking along railroad tracks or lying in bed listening to indie music.