Great Game Tour Day 9: Lifeline

For today’s game trial, I’m jumping back six years to an app called Lifeline. It’s built up a bit of a solid reputation and some sequels, so I wanted to give it a go.

What we have here is basically a choose-your-own text adventure that capitalizes on the smartphone format. The story is told via a series of in-game text messages from a stranded spaceship crash survivor named Taylor to the player — who is presumably the only person who can get Taylor’s signal and communicate back. Taylor seems amiable to follow whatever directions the player sends, and thus the story of survival and exploration begins.

The twist here is that at fairly regular intervals in the story, Taylor will undertake an action that requires an unspecified amount of time to do. So that halts further progress through the story until Taylor — via phone notifications — lets the player know that the story is on once more.

Depending on  how you look at it, this technique can be either annoying or immersive. I can kind of see both sides, but really, I don’t mind being told a story in little bite-sized chunks spread over the course of several days. The idea here, as I understand it, is to blur the lines between reality and game a little bit — to have Taylor interject into moments in your day and give you the sense that this is an ongoing event rather than a one-and-done story.

The writing and personality is pretty good — I think it was penned by the guy who did The Wolf Among Us, which is neat. And I’m totally up for taking Taylor’s story to completion, so we’ll see where this goes.

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