Oxenfree had a lot working against it even before I played it. I had cooled on narrative games prior to its release and word of mouth was pretty mixed. For some reason though, it stuck out enough in my memory that months after release I randomly decided to play through the entire game in a weekend. Of course, that wasn't the original plan but it hooked me almost immediately and I had to see it through.

This was the creepy story I was after that so many other games this year failed to deliver on. Lots of unknowns and teases of supernatural elements with some actual payoff and mind trips along the way. I couldn't believe that the story and characters felt as alive to me as they did because I assumed the 2D sidescrolling aesthetic would work against its impact. Instead, the game felt much more comfortable to play than some of its genre counterparts that opted for a first person perspective. Even though the teenagers at the center of the story are as incorrigible as should be expected, they never distracted me from the real stars of the game: a simple radio and the mysterious island setting. Thanks for getting in my head, Oxenfree.

Games of 2016

Throughout January, the Games of 2016 will lead the way towards The 2016 Grimmys - Horrible Night's Games of the Year Awards.