Life Is Strange

Game review by
Michael Lafferty, Common Sense Media
Life Is Strange Game Poster Image
Adventure focuses on power, consequences of second chances.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 22 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 40 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Lying, being evasive, doing something illegal to prevent a greater harm are part of the experience. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The protagonist, Max Caulfield, is certainly trying to do the right thing. Being imbued with the ability to turn back time to correct wrongs helps her cause. Most characters encountered have agendas that aren't always nice. 

Ease of Play

Easy controls, simple to play.

Violence

A student is shot by another student and crumples to the ground with a bullet hole in her abdomen, bleeding. There are students missing who will probably be found dead over the course of the episodic game. Violence is sprinkled liberally throughout the game. 

Sex

Sexual discussion is frank, comes up in conversations Max has with other students. Students have crushes on a teacher, are said to have sexual relationships. There are references to parties where female students become sexually involved.

Language

Frequent use of "f--k," "s--t," and other expletives. 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A female student confronts a male student about dealing drugs. Alcohol and smoking part of the game. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Life Is Strange -- Episode 1: American Chrysalis is a downloadable mystery adventure that takes place in a fictional world at a private academy for teenagers. There's frank discussion of sex, relationships, and partying among characters; cursing is frequently used and attempts to mimic high school students' use of vulgarity. Smoking, drugs, and alcohol are often discussed, and (in some cases) they're used (the main character's friend smokes). There's also blood and violence shown, with a general sense of dread and foreboding due to missing students (their story presumably will be told over the course of the episodic gameplay).

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byDianeweb March 28, 2015

Strongly disagree with "not for kids" rating

This game is not for every kid, to be sure, and if you've got hard and fast rules against an M rating in your house, go with that. But for my kids, this g... Continue reading
Adult Written byrnc88 January 19, 2016

An absolutely supurb example of what the medium has to offer

Parents should know that Life is Strange is a impeccably written, and acted videogame, dealing with mature, but highly relatable themes. Life is Strange is an e... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byCleverJane June 16, 2015

KIDS, DON'T DO DRUGS!

"Not for kids" rating? Seriously? What is wrong with today's society? Teens will easily relate to the main protagonist or any other character in... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old September 4, 2015

A good game, but review has spoilers

This game while not for kids, is a great game. It is a story driven game, and your choices affect the game. It is the first game to make me have tears, and in m... Continue reading

What's it about?

Max Caulfield is not a typical 18-year-old teenage girl. Not only does she seem skilled with a camera, but she discovers that she has the ability to reverse time, albeit not too far. But it's this ability that's at the core of LIFE IS STRANGE -- EPISODE 1: AMERICAN CHRYSALIS. Max has returned to her hometown on the Oregon coast after being gone for five years, is accepted into a prestigious private academy, and is soon embroiled in a dark mystery involving the disappearance of other students. Everyone could be a suspect, from the famous teacher of photography to the Vortex club, to other priggish, snobbish students who think they have free reign to do what they please without consequence. As you play the game, you'll find that choices have consequences, and the decisions Max makes will alter the story as it unfolds.

Is it any good?

Life Is Strange has a sinister undertone that grabs players and forces them through the plot with the one caveat: that things aren't always what they seem to be. On the downside, the setting is a little forced for the sake of the story, with gameplay relying on highlighting objects and then selecting actions from pop-up wheels. Some action elements can be obscured by characters if the camera isn't in the right position to reveal what players can and can't do. The game also has some puzzles that are sequential (not bad unless you get hung up trying to figure out something that seems so minor overall), meaning you have to accomplish certain things to solve the puzzle and advance the story.

On the positive side, the artwork is very nice with a great use of color and texture. Although the profanity can seem a bit much, a 17-year-old who helped review the game said the character interaction reminded her of the school she attends, from the student attitudes to some of the language. The game is easy to control, the characters are distinctive, and the puzzles aren't mind-bending, but they can require a bit of intuition and intelligence. Even though the game advertises that actions have consequences, Max can alter her actions with her time-reversal powers and make other choices, which leads to some replayability. So far, this is shaping up to be a first-rate adventure title. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the impact of violence in games. Why does violence affect people more when it happens unexpectedly? Is it any worse when violence happens to kids?

  • Have you ever been faced with a dilemma where there was no easy answer and, regardless of your decision, someone would be hurt or feel bad? How did you handle it? Do you think you did the best you could, given your choices?

Game details

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