Life is Strange ($2.99) by Square Enix is the mobile port of the 2015 game that was released on Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. The game is classified as an episodic graphic adventure game and consists of five episodes. It's similar to other games on the App Store, like Telltale's The Walking Dead and Batman.
If you've followed console gaming at all in the past few years, then you may have heard of Life is Strange at some point. It's just one of the many episodic-style games that are more of an interactive storytelling experience instead of a fast-paced shooter, or something along those lines. I've heard nothing but good things about Life is Strange since its release a few years ago, but I couldn't quite bring myself to purchase it on console. So when I saw that it was coming to the App Store this week, I had to check it out.
When Apple announced that you can pre-order apps and games on the App Store, I was curious about how this would work. So I saw Life is Strange being featured on the App Store before release, with a button to pre-order. I did this, and would like to comment that it works flawlessly. Once the game was available, it began to download automatically on my device and I was charged. It's simple, and a great way to remember big releases when life gets so hectic (Christmas is coming, after all).
App Feels Like
App Feels Like
Visually, Life is Strange is as beautiful as ever. The game runs on Unreal Engine, so it's console quality on your iPhone or iPad. As someone who's never played Life is Strange before, I'm thoroughly impressed with the graphics, because the world and characters are incredibly lifelike. While some motions still look a bit jerky, the movements and animations for all of the characters are pretty realistic. The colors in the game are bold and rich, and the dynamic lighting and weather just make everything pop. The soundtrack is incredible, and the voice acting is superb.
Since Life is Strange is an episodic graphic adventure style game, players must progress through the story from the beginning. There are no levels, just episodes. At the moment, the initial download of $2.99 includes the first episode, and you can purchase Episode 2 for $0.99, and Episode 3 for $2.99. Episodes 4 and 5 are coming in 2018. Or, if you want to save money, you can get the Season Pass for $8.99, which includes all current and upcoming episodes.
For those who are unaware, Life is Strange's plot revolves around Max Caulfield, who's an 18-year-old senior photography student with an amazing gift. She has the power to rewind time at any given moment, causing her choices to have a butterfly effect. The game opens up with Max foreseeing a catastrophic storm, and ultimately, she must work on preventing this from destroying the town. But there's more to the game than that.
Early on in the game, you end up saving the life of Max's best friend, Chloe Price. The pair soon find themselves looking into the mysterious disappearance of Rachel Amber, a fellow student. This digging around reveals that Arcadia Bay isn't all it's cracked up to be. Not only that, but changing the past can ultimately lead to doomed futures.
Controls in Life is Strange are simple and work like typical point-and-click adventure games. To look around Max, just drag your finger around the screen. To move, just tap where you want her to go. Any objects that you can interact with will be pointed out to you, which just need a tap, and you can choose between "Look" or "Use" actions.
I found that the swiping for moving the camera around takes a bit of getting used to, because it felt like I kept looking in the opposite direction of what I wanted. But if it bothers you, the game's settings have controller options, where you can invert the X and Y axis for the camera. You can also use joystick controls if tapping-to-move is too tedious.
Once Max's rewind power is revealed, you can activate it by tapping on the button in the top left corner. You can rewind the scene or do a fast rewind if you're impatient. Or, you can use the "Quick Undo" to jump immediately back to the last part that required a decision from you. Sometimes you will need to rewind a scene multiple times, as you end up gaining valuable information that you can use to make a decision prior. All decisions you make in Life is Strange affect how the narrative unfolds.
An episodic decision based adventure game with the ability to rewind time.
Life is Strange is an excellent game that's well worth your time. It looks fantastic on my iPhone 8 Plus and the voice acting is well-done. The controls work out well enough for mobile devices, which is surprising. The story in Life is Strange is also captivating and engaging from the get-go, so once you start, chances are you'll be hooked.
While Life is Strange is a fantastic addition to anyone's iOS game collection, it does have some quirks. I noticed a few frame rate issues in the beginning, where the scene was a bit choppy. Also, in the beginning with the storm, the controls were a bit fidgety, so I felt stuck and unable to reach the lighthouse. And the camera swiping felt a bit off, because it seemed to be the opposite of what I'm used to by default. Still, these are small quirks, and aren't going to stop me from playing.
While I'm still fairly early on in Life is Strange, I'm thoroughly enjoying it so far. I love the realistic graphics, voice acting and music, and the controls are pretty decent for touch screens. It's my first time playing, and the story got me hooked right away. This is one iOS game that is well worth the money and I look forward to checking out the next episodes.
If you haven't played Life is Strange yet, then this is the perfect time to do so. Life is Strange is on the App Store as a universal download for your iPhone and iPad for just $2.99. The additional episodes can be bought through in-app purchases.