A truly interesting game has just gone free for the first time. Maybe Lifeline is coming up as the next free app of the week, or maybe its developers are just running a paid-to-free campaign to boost downloads, but I’ll take it either way. The game is regularly $0.99 on the App Store, and there’s no indication of how long it will be free. Let’s take a look at this unique game.
Interactive fiction done right
Lifeline is like a Choose Your Own Adventure novel, written by Dave Justus, author of “Fables: The Wolf Among Us.” The tale that spins out is of a student astronaut named Taylor, who may well be the lone survivor of a starship crash on a remote moon. Your role is advisor through an emergency communicator, helping Taylor make decisions to stay alive (or not.)
Play in real time, without opening the app
The game’s design is truly brilliant, because you don’t have to open the app to play it. Communications from Taylor come to you by way of notifications, and you’re given the option of directing his next move straight from your Notification Center. It gets a bit spammy at times, because Taylor is a bit of a talker, but there are also periods of silence as your stranded astronaut makes his way in real time around obstacles. Yes, I said in real time. If Taylor says it will take him an hour to get somewhere, you won’t hear from the game again for about that long.
Play from your Watch
Lifeline also includes an Apple Watch companion app, so you can get the notifications and respond to them straight from your wrist. This is great, considering the concept of the game as something you play periodically throughout the day, rather than a single prolonged gaming session.
For a limited time, Lifeline is available for free on the App Store. It’s designed for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, and requires iOS 8 or later. The game has no ads or in-app purchases.