Oxenfree

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 2 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 5 reviews

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.

Violence

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

Sex

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.

Language

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

Consumerism
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

Adult Written byTy C. October 10, 2017

Perhaps Needs a Trigger Warning

So, I went into this game not knowing what to expect. I am loving it, but there is at least one moment that I thought was a bit too much. In the game, we get so... Continue reading
Adult Written byXbox O. July 27, 2017

Oxxenfree game secret achievement is unwinable!

The creators who made the oxxen free must of put a glitch in the game to keep people from winning the secret achievement, which is called the strong but silent... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bylazycade February 25, 2017

A great game with an even better mystery at it's helm

I'm really surprised how many radars this flew under. The sound design, art style, writing, and characters are all brilliantly done. The mystery that surro... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written bykappy6554 April 24, 2018

Awesome and creepy sci fi drama with some mature things

Oxenfree is a creepy sci fi drama with a heavy emphasis on dialogue. Players control Alex and make dialogue and movement decisions. You can be a nice person or... 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

Themes & Topics

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