Life is Strange

An episodic adventure video game that functions as heavily story-oriented, Life is Strange follows the adventures of high school student Max Caulfield as she discovers she now has the power to manipulate time.

Set in fictional town of Arcadia Bay, Oregon, this game places Max in the center of a natural disaster building after she has gotten used to her newly found powers. She is a passionate young woman aspiring to be a professional photographer, important to the game mechanics as there are key points in which you are either looking at or taking a photograph. Alongside her is Chloe Price, her best friend since childhood who she lost contact with after moving away from Arcadia Bay, but after returning, they soon re-spark their friendship and discover the secrets to Max’s powers.

Being a fan of the decision-making style of games such as famous Telltale Game titles, I absolutely loved the plot and pacing of this game that leaves you making decisions that affect your relationship with others and alters the plot for each episode. If you are a fan of fast paced games with a lot of combat, then this game is likely not for you, the combat in this game is mostly dialogue based but that doesn’t mean there is not a lot of action suspense in the plot.

The best thing about the game is the music, it is an amazing soundtrack and truly solidifies the setting as this small town where the days are mostly peaceful and everybody knows everybody. Square Enix has truly demonstrated that they are capable of taking the decision making episodic format and allowing to create your own storyline, especially considering how the ending features one of the biggest decisions that give two different endings. I admit I became emotionally committed to these characters and the major decisions of the game required long moments of debate.

For all you gamers that enjoy lots of dialogue and exploring to unlock new lines or world building like I do, I completely recommend this game to you. It is a title I never tire of playing over and over again and cannot wait for this universe to continue its expansion through character and setting.

Score: 5 out of 5

Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery

Being a big Harry Potter fan myself, I was among the fans that were extremely excited for the upcoming mobile game, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery. With the Pokemon GO craze still going, this announcement had been a highly pumped up one that left us all waiting in anticipation, especially with the constant reminders of the game leading up to its official release.

For the excitement it built up, it didn’t do so well on the day of its release as it turned out to be another play to win game. The storyline is really the only reason I continue to play and by play, I mean I use up the energy points available then leave the game to use up another set of energy points hours later. I would describe the gameplay as a game where you can leave a child being strangled by a Devil’s Snare because you have no more energy points to make an attempt at saving the poor child. But worry not, for in a mere few hours you will have your energy fully restored and you can return to saving them, unless the timer ran out, in that case you must start over the attempt. 

The game allows you to customize your character and offer a variety of accessories and outfits that you unlock throughout the years of the game which you can get with -you guessed it! – gems that cost very real money. With the purchase of gems, you can obtain more energy points, clothing, and accessories. To test out the benefits of purchasing gems, I spent about fifteen dollars on a cauldron of 150 gems. It allowed me to refill my energy points meter three times which added up to about ten minutes of extra gameplay compared to the usual five. In other words, it didn’t do much to make up for the set up of the game and by this point, I hope the story ends up being well worth the weeks I have spent playing this. 

Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery Screenshot

The plot of the game is you are a student entering your first year of Hogwarts and is the sibling of a previous Hogwarts student who disappeared after causing trouble and involving himself in something referred to as the Cursed Vaults, which he was obsessed with up until his disappearance. Determined to unlock the secrets of these vaults and find the answers to your brother’s disappearance, you and allies you make along the way must manage learning spells, riding a broom, and slipping under professors’ radars as you explore the campus and its guarded secrets. 

Having played since its release date of April 25, 2018, I am close to completing the second year of Hogwarts and have gotten through the game by playing in between classes because the waiting for that energy meter is what drives the urge to put the game down completely and delete the app. For the excitement it brought when it was first announced, the results are disappointing. The game has released some updates and seems to provide some opportunities to gain some energy points by encountering ghosts, house elves, or stacking books along hallways, but doesn’t do much with advancing the game. 

Grade: D-