Lifeline

Lifeline

Summary

You are Taylor’s only contact after his/her* ship crashes on an alien moon. Help Taylor through life or death decisions as the text-based story plays out in real time.

*I said his/her because Taylor’s gender was intentionally left ambiguous. I personally imagined Taylor as a guy because he made me think of Mark Watney in Andy Weir’s The Martian.

Review

For a few days, Taylor and I shared a bond. Whenever Nick asked what I was up to, I usually said something like, “I just helped Taylor find a generator!”

Lifeline decisionsThe game plays out in real time, so you won’t hear from Taylor while he’s sleeping or busy doing something. You just have to cross your fingers and hope he’s okay. With other games, waiting between playing is frustrating and annoying, but with Lifeline, it adds realism. It takes about three days to play if you respond to Taylor regularly.

After you finish the story, you have the option of going back in time and making different decisions. You also unlock “fast mode,” so you can skip the waiting time if you want.

Taylor died the first time I played. And the second, third, and fourth times. It wasn’t until I went back to the very beginning of the story and changed a few early decisions that I found a happy ending for Taylor.

I liked Lifeline a lot. It is engaging and suspenseful. Buy it. 😛

My criticisms are that you are limited to only 2 choices per interaction. Sometimes I wanted more options than that. Also, although Taylor usually listens to you, he’ll sometimes argue with you or ignore your suggestions altogether. This is realistic, but on Day 3, Taylor is going to the peak regardless of any choices you make.

You might like this game if you like…

  • Text-based games
  • The Martian by Andy Weir
  • Choose your own adventure games
  • Space exploration
  • Sarcastic characters
  • Suspense and horror

Want to play?

$0.99 on Google Play & iOS (currently on sale)

Annihilation

AnnihilationAnnihilation by Jeff VanderMeer (2014)

Summary

Area X was once a place of human civilization, but nature has since taken over. Four female scientists embark on an expedition (the twelfth such expedition) to learn more about the strange place that has been cut off from the rest of the world.

Annihilation is the first book in the Southern Reach Trilogy.

Review

Ugh, this book was really weird. I thought for sure I’d like it, so I bought the whole trilogy before I read the first book. Now I’m not sure if I should continue reading it (I heard the second book was very different from the first) or if I should just leave it alone and move onto something else.

The book didn’t explain any of the bizarre things happened, any of the history of Area X, or any of the rules about the expeditions. I get that it’s a mystery and only the first book of a trilogy, but I found it really hard to enjoy the book when I had no idea what I was reading.

At least it was short.

You might like this book if you are interested in…

  • Weird science-fiction
  • Female scientists
  • Arguing about whether to call a building a “tower” or a “tunnel”
  • Apocalypses
  • Creepy mysterious environments
  • Dolphins with human-like eyes

Coma:Mortuary

Coma:Mortuary (Episode 1) is the first part of an adventure/horror trilogy. It was released last month and I got it from a friend during the Steam Summer Sale.

Coma:Mortuary

Summary

Coma:Mortuary is about a guy who tried to commit suicide via car accident after his girlfriend died. He miraculously survived, but fell into a coma, leaving his soul trapped in the world of the dead.

Review

Horror games aren’t really my thing, but I decided to give Coma:Mortuary a try anyway. After some unnecessarily shaky cutscenes, I found myself in control of the character in some sort of cave. I spent the next 15 minutes or so slowly walking through the world while listening to dialogue. It’s not like I was exploring the world, either — just following the path at a snail’s pace. Occasionally, I’d see some wriggling corpses or ghostly silhouettes.

Coma Mortuary In Game

And then I died. Without any idea why. The screen just faded to black and after a few seconds, I got a screen that said “You are dead!” with the options to resume the game or quit. Umm okay. So I resumed the game and kept walking. By this point, I had some limited options on where I could go, so I went a different way than before. And then I died all of a sudden. Again. And that’s when I called it quits.

The good: The graphics and atmosphere are great. The flashlight effect looks good, too.  The voice acting doesn’t suck.

The bad: The first ~15 minutes of the game are painfully slow and you don’t have any freedom; you just keep walking along the path and listening to dialogue. There was a tooltip right at the beginning for how to interact with the environment, but I never saw anything I could interact with. Maybe I just didn’t play far enough. The sudden, unexplained deaths made me finally give up on the game.

TL;DR The game creators know how to make a game look good, but gameplay sure sucked. I wouldn’t even recommend it for the $0.59 it’s currently going for.

Want to play?

$0.59 on Steam (90% off during the Steam Summer Sale)

They Breathe

The Steam Summer Sale is going on and with that comes gifts of weird games from my friends. This time around, one of those games was They Breathe.

They Breathe

Summary

They Breathe is an action adventure game with a dark story and hand-drawn art. You start the game as a frog, floating above the water on a log. Once you dive below the water, though, it’s a mad scramble to get enough air bubbles to stay alive, especially because you aren’t the only creature under the water.

Review

There aren’t any instructions. It’s up to you to figure out the controls and how to play. The game is pretty simple, though, so it works.

They Breathe Moose
What is a moose doing underwater?!

The game is really short — about half an hour long. It also auto-saves, so that if you die, you don’t have to start over from the beginning. Well… unless your game glitches like mine did and your frog ends up off-screen somewhere between life and death. Frog limbo renders the game unplayable without ever reverting to an auto-save. I had to close the game and start over from the beginning. 🙁

Like most people, I thought the game was… strange. I think it’s worth the $0.61, though, especially since it has Steam Trading Cards.

P.S. There is a twist to the creatures that you’ll probably discover by the time you get to the bottom.

Want to Play?

$0.61 on Steam (69% off during the Steam Summer Sale)