In 2016, the supernatural adventure Oxenfree captured many with its ghostly rifts and young group of friends going against something bigger than them. Seven years later, we finally have our hands on the sequel and, let us tell you, fans of the original will definitely have a great time here. Bring your proton packs with you in our Oxenfree II: Lost Signals review.
Overall, Oxenfree II: Lost Signals uses up similar themes to the original. This time we play as Riley, an enigmatic girl who has started working in the small town of Camena. Pretty soon, ghostly rifts will be back on the menu du jour, as she will find herself involved in many different adventures.
The sequel is every bit as good as its predecessor, sharing the same themes and concepts but bundling them in a new story. It’s not a revolution on what went before, but it evolves and expands on the story in new areas, so fans of the original will find loads to love here.
Edwards Island will be familiar to fans of the original, as the main setting for the first game. Perhaps, not a spoiler but rather a confirmation, the first game’s events will start to intertwine with those of the sequel. As might be predictable, while there is no need to be familiar with the original Oxenfree, there is a lot of backstory and references that one might be missing out on.
In the sequel, we’ll also find some new mechanics such as the walkie-talkie. By using it, we can select between different radio channels, which will also allow you to contact others – along with being contacted. By using it, Riley will be able to know better the other island dwellers. But this is optional, of course, so you can skip those conversations too.
These optional conversations will also lead Riley to possible side quests, but – again – everything that is not part of the main narrative can be ignored. While we wouldn’t recommend it, it is definitely possible to just stick to the main narrative if you’re in a rush.
Honestly, the side missions feel like an organic part of the main narrative. While they are entirely optional, as stated, they are well thought-out and polished, so much so that it might be hard to tell that those are simple optional missions. Plus, hey, can we actually ignore the plight of Athena, the poor dog that’s gone missing? We surely cannot.
Naturally, as it often happens, together with optional side missions also come decisions which – much like the original – will influence the outcome of Riley’s adventure. Expect, then, to play this again to find at least some of the different endings in Oxenfree II.
All this ties in with the fact that this is very much of a “more of the same” sequel to Oxenfree. This is absolutely not a complaint, as it was definitely one of the more interesting games from 2016. But still, if you didn’t really connect with the original, then chances are you will probably not like Oxenfree II either, as much as we can praise in this review.
Still, there are some issues which reared their ugly head. Most of all probably some of the loading times, which were definitely a bit longer than anticipated. Especially because we will be exploring quite a large territory, so having to wait several seconds between each screen is not the best. Still, perhaps that can be improved with a later patch.
Still, it is hard to stay mad in any way at Oxenfree II. It definitely builds upon the first game’s strengths, with a thick and engaging narrative and a unique ghostly setting. Definitely don’t let this one pass on by if you loved the original, or if you just like playing lovingly crafted narrative games.
Oxenfree II is available on Steam.
Oxenfree II: Lost Signals: While it doesn't innovate on a tried and true formula, Oxenfree II expands on the original in all the right ways, feeling like an almost-perfect sequel. Oxenfree II: Lost Signals is amazing. – Damiano Gerli