After a year of disappointing launches,you’d think Square Enix wouldn't be taking a chance on a risky new IP. But the publisher has gone ahead and surprised us all with Life Is Strange,a point-and-click adventure exploring life’s greatest mystery: growing up. Leaving the homestead and returning years later is a complex puzzle in itself; everything and everyone can feel like they’ve been trapped in time while you’ve grown and evolved. What’s your place in a world you once knew intimately but has become foreign with time? Square Enix is taking a chance with Remember Me developer Dontnod, and we can’t tear our attention away. The fact that Life Is Strange is so far removed from everything else coming to Xbox One isa curiosity in itself. It’sa title that isn’t selling it self on violence or a litany of waist-high cover that seems to pervade the industry. It’s a coming of age story centred on two teenage girls struggling to make sense of a world that suddenly seems unjust.


Ata glance, Life Is Strange seems rooted in the adventure genre. But seeing it in action reveals it’s far more reserved.

Like Gone Home, this isa game deeply steeped in nuance, it’s an experience piece as much as it is anything else. While that could be the most pretentious thing X-ONE has said all month, that doesn’t change the truth in the matter.

It chronicles the return of teenager Max Caulfield to her hometown in Arcadia Bay, Oregon after five years away. The discovery that an old classmate has disappeared under rather uncomfortable circumstances might drive the narrative forward, but its Max’s attempt to rekindle a relationship with a best friend that seems to be the real focus.
“A coming-of-age story centred on two teenage girls struggling to make sense of a world that’s unjust”
Exploration and teenage curiosity steal our attention at every step. Moving through Chloe’s house introduces a world with objects just begging to be interacted with. In the same vein as Gone Home, many of these objects are non-essential to moving the plot forward, but they all help build the bigger picture. They help immerse you into the world and its characters, and small details that seem unimportant initially might have grave importance hours down the line. Life Is Strange is designed so that every action causes a reaction with many of the decisions being so minute and inconsequential that their real impact won’t be realised until much later down the line. That’s why Dontnod is also granting the player the power to rewind time. Some will see this asa game built aroundRemember
Me’s most memorable mechanic; the rest of you will viewit asa curious way to explore the nature of action and reaction.

Having the power to immediately alter the past hands you the agency to allow things to play out exactly as you’ve intended as well as being able to solve seemingly well-designed puzzles. 

Where this mechanic truly comes into its own is in dialogue. It allows you to explore various branching options and eliminates one of the most frustrating aspects of games such  as Mass Effect 3 and The Walking Dead, where ambiguous dialogue choices would lead to confusing or unintended results. It’s something we can see ourselves obsessing over: there’s no right or wrong way to approach Life Is Strange, only your way. Dontnod has built it in such a way that you have the scope, 
powers and choices to play it as you would, and tweak what you think could be a mistake accordingly.
Square Enix is moving into uncharted waters with  Life Is Strange. The publisher has heard your requests fora new IP, for something fresh, and  it has responded with a narrative-driven, episodic tale of discovery somewhat in the same vein as Telltale’s  The Wolf Among Us . New chapters will come, building and evolving those all-important choices you’ve made in previous episodes. But to what end? That’s the question we can’t wait to answer, and we can only hope that Life Is Strange 
isn’t delayed as heavily as  Remember Me came to be.