On January 15th, 2016, Night School Studio released its first video game titled Oxenfree. Highly regarded as a gripping graphic adventure supernatural thriller, this title wowed critics and left many fans wondering how a potential sequel in this universe would play out.
After completing Oxenfree II: Lost Signals this past week, I’m pleased to say that it absolutely doesn’t miss a beat and is the perfect follow-up to an already beloved first entry. Here are more of my thoughts on the sequel and why it’s worth picking up especially if you played the first game.
New Characters, Familiar Transmissions
Oxenfree II: Lost Signals takes place approximately five years after the events of the first game. You play as new lead protagonist Riley Poverly, a Camena-born resident who makes a timely return to her hometown and starts a job as an entry-level environmental researcher.
On her first night at work, Riley comes across her co-worker/former high school friend Jacob Summers and they end up working together to investigate supernatural elements haunting the area. The pair discovers that by planting transmitters throughout Camena, they are able to disrupt what’s happening and get closer to the root of the problem. While all of this is going on, Riley and Jacob also have to contend with a group of unruly teenagers calling themselves Parentage. Their main goal is to open a new portal to alternate timelines in order to communicate with ghosts from the past.
Without spoiling any important details about the plot, I can personally guarantee that Lost Signals delivers in every way imaginable from start to finish. There are some intriguing twists and turns that will keep you glued to the edge of your seat. The central theme of loss acts as the connective tissue between Oxenfree and Oxenfree II which in turn provides answers to many questions you may have had after completing the first game.
It’s also worth noting that your conversations and dialogue choices shape your story and relationships in meaningful ways. As a result of this, there are multiple endings to explore and certain characters may become your best friend or worst enemy depending on how you interact with them. I strongly recommend playing through it a few times to get the complete experience and fully grasp everything that this narrative has to offer.
Communicating With The Past
The core gameplay mechanics of Oxenfree II: Lost Signals are virtually the same as in the first game. In addition to the Dialogue system mentioned above, you have use of both a Radio and Walkie Talkie throughout your journey. Tuning the Radio to certain stations helps you solve environmental puzzles that are plaguing your surroundings. The Walkie Talkie allows you to communicate with other locals and mysterious characters that can either aid or discourage you as you explore Camera’s landscape.
Speaking of exploration, if you played Oxenfree then you already know that this game requires you to revisit the same areas over again at various times throughout the night. When you do this, you’ll discover various collectibles that uncover more mysteries about current and previous residents in Camera. Climbing across mountains and traversing through creepy caves adds an element of surprise in not knowing what awaits you ahead. Some of this mystique does wear off however when completing a second playthrough but the experience is still worth diving into again.
In terms of art style and graphics, Oxenfree II: Lost Signals is a very beautiful game to look at. The aesthetics remain very true to the original game and the vibrant color palette used throughout compliments the range of emotions that Riley feels at various points in her story. The outstanding acting performances by the entire cast also pull you deeper into the world and you begin to sympathize with others as well as Riley herself.
As a Netflix-published title, Oxenfree II: Lost Signals supports up to 32 different languages and can also be played on the Netflix iOS and Android app via Tablet. It should take you roughly 4 hours to complete depending on how fast you choose to run through the game. This time length feels very much appropriate given how well-paced everything is. There are also certain plot points in the story where you’ll want to make different choices and in those instances, I would highly recommend starting another save file.
In closing, Oxenfree II: Lost Signals is an outstanding sequel and a very much required experience for those who enjoyed the first game. When you think about a show like Stranger Things and the impact that it has had on Netflix, you can fully understand why Night School Studios is now a part of this company. Their target audience is very much the same and they have an aligned vision for where they want to take their titles. The future is indeed very bright for Netflix Games and I personally can’t wait to see what Night School does next.
This review was written based on a digital review copy of Oxenfree II: Lost Signals for the PlayStation 5 provided by Night School Studio.