Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Oxenfree Game Poster Image
Edgy adventure on deserted isle is engaging yet mysterious.

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 9 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Overall message tied to friendship, family, dealing with stressful situations, but players can make dialogue, action choices that could be positive (kind, helpful) or negative (hurtful, insensitive).

Positive Role Models & Representations

Gamers play as Alex, a smart but rebellious teenage girl who brings her new stepbrother, Jonas, and childhood friend Ren to an overnight party on a mysterious island in the Pacific Northwest. You can choose how to deal with situations, can be nice or cruel.

Ease of Play

Mouse, keyboard controls a little confusing, but also supports a game-console controller. Plus you need to be in a specific spot to interact with something or it won't work.


Some references to violence in dialogue, but nothing seen visually.


Many sexual references, such as "licking someone's butth--e," "skinny-dipping," "sex is gross ... get a room," "last person you made out with," more.


"Pissed," "bitch," butt," "damn," "crap," "hell."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Shows images of drugs, smoking, alcohol, and many references to them. Someone eats hash brownies, is affected by the drug.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Oxenfree is a downloadable adventure game that features a group of teenagers on a small, remote island. These unaccompanied teenagers bring drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes, and their dialogue makes frequent references to sex and violence, though nothing is shown. Drugs are frequently spoken about as well, and one character even takes hash brownies and experiences the effects afterward. As the protagonist Alex, the player can make decisions -- dialogue-based or actions -- that will affect the story line. Controls can also be somewhat confusing, and players will need to be in a specific location to make sure they can activate certain objects in the environment.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bymom2boyz April 5, 2019

A little racy

I watched my son play this for a while last night, but I was not happy with the references "let's go to the beach and drink" and "I'd s... Continue reading
Adult Written byAuntMame December 26, 2018

Sexual References and Drug References in the first 20 minutes

This is rated teen, but it skirts the line of mature. The gameplay is reasonable and the concept is solid, it would be a game I would have enjoyed when I was a... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byDownByTheCreek August 22, 2020

Depends on how mature the kid is.

I think it differs from family to family.
I played the game at first at around age 9 and the only thing that bothered me was when possessed Clarissa supposedly... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byjoe flemming May 12, 2020

Best game I have ever played but it’s not what you think

Ok so Oxenfree is an amazing game but some of the content is not for children. You are allowed to drink beer smoke and there are some scenes where the character... Continue reading

What's it about?

OXENFREE is a single-player adventure game that follows a group of teenagers who sneak off to the fictional Edwards Island in the Pacific Northwest. This seemingly abandoned outpost has an ominous history, which surfaces while they're exploring a mysterious cave and forces the player to make decisions that can affect the outcome of the story. You play as a spunky blue-haired girl named Alex, who brings a friend and her new stepbrother to the island, and they interact with other teens (who may or may not like each other). This point-and-click tale focuses heavily on dialogue sequences, as well as exploration and some puzzle-solving (including a "radio" mechanic that lets the group tune into supernatural elements by dialing to the right frequency).

Is it any good?

This mystery title is a fun, unique three- or four-hour adventure -- with an enjoyable story and characters to unravel -- but those with little patience won't likely appreciate the thousands of lines of dialogue to wade through. Some of the navigation is tedious, too, such as hopping over obstacles, climbing up or down rocks, or walking down twisting paths, as it all takes time, though it's likely required to let all the dialogue sequences play out. It's also strongly recommended that players use a game controller, because the keyboard and mouse controls aren't the most intuitive. The pacing is off, too, because some areas of the game are slow and drag on, while at other points some significant events take place in a short period of time.

Along with beautiful hand-painted 2-D environments, the real charm in Oxenfree is the character development. As Alex, you can decide what to say and how to act and choose the people you want to help -- interestingly, there isn't always a "correct" choice or one that doesn't have any repercussions. The music also adds to the atmosphere, but the voice acting is hit and miss (plus, teens don't talk like this). All that being said, if you're an adventure-game fan who likes slower story-based games, you should find Oxenfree an engaging sub-$20 download to play over a rainy Sunday afternoon.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about substance use. This game features lots more drugs, alcohol, and smoking than many other games; does this add to the story and gameplay or overshadow it?

  • Talk about decision making. The game challenges the player to make many decisions that can affect the main character's relationships, safety, and future, but are games such as this a refreshing change, or will players find that making choices is too much work?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love adventure

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate