Review: Oxenfree 2: Lost Signals is worth tuning into

oxenfree 2

2016’s Oxenfree was a fresh take on the adventure genre and it delivered a great story thanks to its incredible cast of characters and involving setting. Back then, it seemed like the game didn’t really need a sequel as the entire experience felt pretty complete, but lo and behold, seven years later Oxenfree 2: Lost Signals is here to prove me wrong. 

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. 

First up there’s Riley, a 30-something that’s lost in life without much of a purpose. We meet her as she’s arriving in Camena, a coastal town neighboring the original game’s Edwards Island, for an odd job placing beacons in order to investigate mysterious signals detected in the area for a non-profit organization. It doesn’t take long for her to meet up with Jacob, an old acquaintance of hers from back when she was a kid growing up in that sleepy, backwater town.

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The game’s shapeshifting puzzles are in equal measure fun and frustrating.

All the while, both of them are in constant communication via radio with Evelyn, a new member of the NGO who from afar gives support to the two former friends when strange phenomena start taking place after a huge triangle appears in the skies above neighboring Edwards Island. Both Riley and Jacob start getting visions of bizarre events taking place all over town, and get trapped in a loop of constantly shifting scenarios as they race to finish placing the rest of the beacons.

The first Oxenfree offered a decent chunk of visual puzzles to figure out, and the sequel is no different. They come into place whenever you’re faced with having to figure your way into the next section of the game, such as tuning into a specific frequency or even simply stepping into a shift in time. 

This time, there are new shape-melding conundrums to deal with which require you to dial in forms using your two analog sticks until they match; at times, these can be quite easy, but at others, they take a little while to figure out, providing a slight level of challenge and a tinge of annoyance, although the latter is few and far between.

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 collectibles, 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 is worth experiencing to completion.

oxenfree 2
Dialogue in Oxenfree 2 is a free-flowing affair that can lead you to a variety of paths and consequences.

Due to the nature of its story and the way that events roll out, it’s natural for the game to feel slightly repetitive, especially when the dialogue begins to loop and lines seem to be the same, only with slight shifts. Then again, if a movie like Groundhog Day managed to nail a time loop as well as it did, it’s no surprise that now a game in Oxenfree 2’s fashion has basically gotten it as fantastically as it does in as limited scope as the one that it has.

While I wouldn’t say that I expected that there would be a sequel to Oxenfree, a game that I have thoroughly enjoyed in the past, similarly to something like The Last of Us, which originally felt like it was complete on its own.

It’s absolutely great to be proven wrong by such a talented group of developers over at Night School Studio. They’re certainly cracked another amazing time with Oxenfree 2: Lost Signals, a game that I wouldn’t have a hard time recommending to any sort of player out there who’s looking for something exciting and worthy of their time to play. 

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