Critical Play: Life is Strange

Playing a free version of Life is Strange Episode 1, I was drawn into the life of high schooler Max Caulfield who goes through all the drama and trauma of senior year with the ability to rewind time. The mysteries in the game are largely centered on Max’s visions of the future, offering fragmented glimpses of what’s to come. It’s then up to Max and the player to figure out and often prevent the disasters in her premonitions

Additionally, the game adds mystery to the player’s each decision through offering bits and pieces of information. With limited access to pieces of a larger puzzle, the player is advised to act wisely despite the uncertainty that any action will change the reality of Max’s life for the better.

Max’s first and perhaps biggest time-altering action is to save her childhood friend Chloe, who remains her companion throughout the game. Although Max was able to save Chloe from a brutal death, the player is left with the uneasy feeling that anything could go wrong, and I found myself often lingering on the possibilities of alternate decisions and timelines. Overall, the game’s cinematic view and emotional narrative make for an engaging experience, and I look forward to playing more.



The focus of CS 247G is an introduction to theory and practice of the design of games. We make games (digital, paper, or otherwise), do rapid iteration, and run user research studies appropriate to game design with the goal of improving and refining our design instincts.

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