Board gaming opportunities are becoming less frequent and so I decided to investigate some of the available games on Xbox game pass. Oxenfree is not my normal type of game, but as it is leaving soon I thought I’d check it out.

It’s probably best described as an interactive horror story. You play as Alex, who along with her best friend Ren and new step-brother Jonas spend the night on a haunted island. Using Alex’s radio you can communicate with ghosts, escape time loops, open locks, tune in to facts about the island, etc. Gameplay consists of walking around the island and selecting how to respond as the other characters talk – you can also stay silent if you’d rather.

It’s more creepy than scary. The atmospheric music and use of the rumble function on the remote adding to the tension. I felt more on the edge of my seat at couple of points – the hangman game and the riddles in particular.

Travelling around can get a bit tedious. You are limited to quite a slow walking speed and the dialogue dries up if you go off the beaten track or get stuck on what to do next. However the dialogue itself is interesting, it feels like your responses matter. I also felt invested in the characters as I found out more about them.

Apparently there are different endings depending on how you respond to the other characters. I’d possibly play again if it was around on gamepass longer, but I feel content with my one play through. I’d want to leave it a few months in-between plays due to the slow pace anyway.

I enjoyed my play through and spent about 4 hours on it over a week. I’m glad I tried out something different and would choose to play a similar style game again. If you are interested in trying it out on gamepass too, be quick – it leaves at the weekend.

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