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.
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!”
The 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.
Chris Hadfield wanted to be an astronaut since he first saw Neil Armstrong walk on the moon when he was 9 years old. He knew it was an impossible dream (Canada didn’t even have a space program yet and NASA only accepted U.S. citizens), but he thought that if he worked toward it anyway, maybe it would be possible some day down the road.
I tried to imagine what an astronaut might do if he were 9 years old, then do the exact same thing. Would an astronaut eat his vegetables or have potato chips instead? Sleep in late or get up early to read a book?
Since Chris Hadfield knew he was unlikely to ever be an astronaut, he made sure that he enjoyed and made the most of every step in his career. And when he did finally become an astronaut, he kept the same mentality toward space flight — that it might never happen, but he would work toward it and enjoy the process.
If you start thinking that only your biggest and shiniest moments count, you’re setting yourself up to feel like a failure most of the time. Personally, I’d rather feel good most of the time, so to me everything counts: the small moments, the medium ones, the successes that make the papers and also the ones that no one knows about but me. The challenge is avoiding being derailed by the big, shiny moments that turn other people’s heads. You have to figure out for yourself how to enjoy and celebrate them, and then move on.
I started following Chris Hadfield on social media while he was on the ISS, because I’ve always been fascinated by space and he does such a great job kindling that fascination. An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth not only gives insight into what it’s like to be an astronaut, but Chris Hadfield also shares life lessons that would apply to anyone. I really liked this book. It’s interesting, insightful, and funny and I don’t think it could have been written by a more humble guy.