The latest issue of GamesMaster – which arrived on subscriberâ€™s doormats this weekend – features a review of Life is Strangeâ€™s first episode, subtitled Chrysalis.
For those not aware, Square Enixâ€™s Life is Strange – due out 30th January on the download services – is developer Dontnodâ€™s first foray into episodic gaming. Similarities with Dontnodâ€™s debut Remember Me are numerous, including the female leadâ€™s ability to rewind time.
The plot entails 18 year old Max having visions of a natural disaster after returning to her hometown with a scholarship to a local arts academy. Itâ€™s not long after being introduced to the schoolâ€™s â€œhilariouslyâ€ clichÃ©d characters – which include a troubled army vet security guard, a hip photography teacher and a janitor with learning difficulties – that Max discovers the ability to rewind time.
Unsurprisingly this is used during puzzle solving, with one example mentioned in the review involving rewinding time to prevent an accidental death by sounding the schoolâ€™s fire alarm.
â€œWith great powers comes wasted possibilityâ€ reads the reviewâ€™s strap, instantly setting the tone. As well as â€œclichÃ©-ridden charactersâ€ and â€œteeth-grindingly â€˜hipâ€™ referencesâ€ reviewer Joe Skrebels also warns of plot holes, writing that â€œsimply isnâ€™tâ€™ good enoughâ€ and hand painted textures that look great from a distance but resemble something from a â€œhorrid Newsgrounds Flash gameâ€ when up close. For the record, the PS4 version was reviewed.
This first episode does show promise for the remaining four however: â€œThere are enough characters and loose ends to craft something far more substantialâ€ claims Skrebels with the final word reporting that â€œthe mechanics have laid some interesting groundworkâ€. They also approved of the high school setting, and the fact that rewinding time adds a lot to both conversations and conundrums.
GMâ€™s final judgement stood at an encouraging enough 62%. Considering some Telltale adventures have got off to sloppy starts and quickly recovered, those eagerly awaiting Life is Strange shouldn’t feel too off put.