Sound is a very powerful thing as when we are unable to attach a visual to it, our minds can come up with some frightening images. This was a part of Oxenfree and has returned in Night School’s Oxenfree II: Lost Signals. With the help of Netflix, the sequel has been made available on mobile devices.
It’s a 2.5D point-and-click narrative game about exploring the source behind some unusual audio transmissions. The more you uncover, the more you’ll be looking forward to and dreading where your investigation will take you and what will become of you should you discover the truth.
What are the Oxenfree II: Lost Signals?
The first Oxenfree introduced us to a group of vulnerable teens as they found themselves stuck on an island with a haunting secret. It seems this wasn’t the only island as the story continues into another in Oxenfree II: Lost Signals. You follow the story of Riley Poverly, a recently hired researcher tasked with setting up transmitters around Camena Island. As she begins her new job, she quickly learns that the unusual signals are connected to those of Edwards Island from the first game which happens to be nearby. As you help her mess with the signals, you’ll mess with time, dimensions, and even reality itself.
Strengthening the Oxenfree II: Lost Signals
The best you can hope for with any sort of audio device is that it produces sound clearly. Oxenfree II possesses such strengths as well as others through its gameplay experience and presentation. Its biggest strength is its use of sound and music. The mechanic of using a radio tuner returns with the support of a walkie-talkie that has multiple channels. Sound is the star of the game and is a joy to listen to in all its forms, from static to awkward conversation. Any time distortion happens, it’s accompanied by additional musical cues to emphasize it – but based on the circumstances, the background may fall completely silent to highlight the haunting nature of Riley’s situation.
With that in mind, this leads to the power of the game’s atmosphere. Although Camena Island may have elements in common with Edwards Island, it doesn’t lose any of its effects. Though it’s not abandoned, it feels desolate. While nature is everywhere and thriving, you can’t help but feel a sense of death lingering throughout. Also, considering that you don’t start with a group of companions, the sense of loneliness and isolation is much more prevalent. All of these combined with the reliance on sound really do mix well to create a creepy scenario that you can’t help but see all the way through.
There’s a reason why the headphones recommendation is so prominent.
Losing Oxenfree II: Lost Signals
As quickly as you can tune into a frequency, it can be just as quickly lost with no rhythm or reason or way to get it back. Oxenfree II loses some points in how it carries its signals and overall execution. Despite some of the stylized art choices, the overall game can be very demanding. Camena Island is a huge place and you’ll need to be doing a lot of walking around. If your phone or tablet is not up to the task, then things are going to drag along. Conversations will last forever, jogging will feel like crawling, and sometimes animations will not load properly. The potential lag can also cause some clipping issues, so be prepared.
Unfortunately, the lag also highlights the pacing of the game. Although it’s a narrative story that really wants to draw you in, sometimes we just want to get to it. The problem is that there’s no way to move faster than a light job and you can’t speed through conversation. This game can test your patience, so maybe don’t play it after having your coffee.
Investigating Oxenfree II: Lost Signals
Oxenfree II: Lost Signals is a 2.5D mystery horror game about finding the source behind ominous transmissions around a small island. The atmosphere will draw you in while the sound will encase you in the game and its feel. You just need to make sure there’s space on what’s hopefully a strong device and prepare for a lot of slow sections. Once you know all that, you’ll be able to olly olly oxen-free…too.