Life Is Strange Episode 1: Chrysalis (Playstation Store)

When Max Caulfield returned to Arcadia Bay, she thought it would be just another typical high school life.

Unfortunately, for her, she couldn’t have been more wrong.  Not only does Max find herself at the center of typical teenage drama, she also discovers that she has the power to rewind time.  Can she use it to save Arcadia Bay from an oncoming tornado, or will the power corrupt her?

After playing several Episode stories back to back with the main character being an innocent virgin losing her love interest to the slutty mean girl, this is a breath of fresh air.  While Max is still the virgin and Victoria, the mean girl, might be sexually active, it’s not as black and white.  For starters, Victoria does have more than two brain cells to rub together as demonstrated in the game opening.  She answers the question correctly, though still secretly brags to Max about it.  Max is also not completely against sex, despite being a virgin.  While she is capable of slut shaming and derides herself for it afterward, Max will also remark, after seeing posters promoting abstinence, that looking at that makes people want to have sex.  Even if she’s friends with a religious girl who believes this stuff, but doesn’t try to push it on Max.  In addition, there is a male Victoria, Nathan, and, unlike in several Episode stories, this game does not give him a pass because he has a penis.  Nathan’s not right in the head and, while it’s implied that he has a troubled past, the game does not excuse him for this.  He is every bit as irredeemable as Victoria and he’s not a love interest for Max to cure.  Depending on how you play the game, he’s an obstacle for both Max and Kate, the religious girl who’s good friends with Max, to overcome.  There’s also a character, Chloe, who listens to punk music and smokes pot but, unlike in many episode stories, you don’t lecture her on the evils of pot.

That’s her step-dad’s job and, let me tell you, he’s a real a**hole.

That’s right; this is not your typical high school game.  While Victoria is the mean girl of the story and the most popular, not everyone’s impressed with her.  When you talk to the skater boys, they admit that they don’t like her.  A teacher Victoria has a crush on, Jefferson, does not find her so attractive that he’s willing to break school rules.  Even Max’s geeky friend, Warren, isn’t interested in Victoria, though there are several not so subtle hints that he’s interested in Max while his friend, Brooke, is interested in him.  Did I mention that all three of these characters have stereotypical geeky interests?  This is another breath of fresh air, considering shows, such as the Big Bang Theory, where the boys all have geeky interests.  The girls in that same show, even the scientists, don’t like comic books and video games.  Max admits to owning Battle Royale and watching Full Metal Alchemist, though she hasn’t seen every geek thing out there.  You can even have Max read a poster about geek girls forming their own club and approving.  Max has geeky interests and has a tendency to zone out, ignoring everyone around her.  Therefore, you can bet that she’s someone I can relate to very well.

Speaking of being able to relate to people, this game has several scenarios drawn from real life.  I’ve already mentioned some details, such as abstinence groups, pot smoking and girls with geeky interests.  However, I’ve also said that not everything is black and white and it shows.  For instance, Victoria is not your typical mean girl character.  She is smart, as I pointed out earlier, and, unbelievably, she does have a sense of honor.  When you choose to be nice to Victoria, she agrees to take a picture she posted of you without your permission off the internet and tells you that this doesn’t mean the two of you are friends.  Don’t get me wrong, Victoria’s still screwed up, as she manipulates a friend of hers into shaming her roommate for posting an article she doesn’t like.  Victoria also takes several missing person photos of Rachel Amber and shows no concern for a girl who, for all she knows, could be in a serial killer’s basement.  The only thing that makes her less screwed up than Nathan is that she hasn’t killed anyone.  That’s right, Nathan actually killed someone and it’s how Max first discovers her powers by using them to save the girl he shot.  You do have the option of reporting Nathan to the principal but, since he’s the son of one of Arcadia Bay’s richest families, the principal won’t do anything about it.

Even if you do the right thing, you still get in trouble.

While Telltale did not make this game, it has a similar style.  For starters, you do make dialogue choices for Max.  If you pick the wrong thing, you can make use of her power to rewind time.  You can also explore several scenes and take pictures using Max’s camera.  Throughout the game, you’ll have access to her diary and phone, which you can use to check your messages, read character profiles and the story from Max’s point of view.

This game is intriguing and unique.  I give it 8 out of 10; amazing but doesn’t get a strong emotional reaction out of me.


Vincent’s life is taking a turn for the worse. Not only does his girlfriend, Katherine, want him to commit, he’s also getting nightmares that he can’t even remember the next day. To top it all off, one drunk night led to him cheating for the first time in five years. Meanwhile, there are reports all over the city of men dying in their sleep, and the victims have similarities to Vincent.

I know, this sounds like Nightmare on Elm Street gone soap opera, which actually might be a fitting description. Only difference is when the intended victims wake up, they don’t remember their dreams. So they can’t prepare and they won’t even try to avoid them. So every night they go to bed not knowing that when they wake up they’ve just survived another night, or that they might die. To me, that sounds far more horrifying than Freddy Krueger every was.

The theme of this game is quite simple, it’s about marriage and commitment. Vincent has two women in his life who represent each side of the issue. Katherine represents a life of order and stability. Catherine represents a life of freedom and chaos. Vincent is the confused guy stuck in the middle. As Vincent, you can reply to each of their text messages. How you reply affects the karma meter. If it’s in the pink area, he wants Catherine. If it’s in the blue, he wants Katherine. If it’s in the middle, he doesn’t want either of them. The other characters that share the nightmares with Vincent are facing the same issue in different ways. Plus, you’ll read many quotes about marriage from famous people, with only one exception.

At first the game sounds like a dating sim, but you will definitely be surprised. The true game play is in the nightmares, where you are pushing blocks trying to get to the top before the block you’re standing on falls to the ground. Every night you face a boss that represents Vincent’s fears. Instead of fighting the boss, you’re pushing the blocks trying to get away. So, think of it as Pushmo meets Resident Evil. Between levels, you can talk to sheep in order to learn more climbing techniques. You can also talk to the sheep and encourage them in order to help them survive. Oh, the sheep you’re talking to are human, but you only see them as sheep. They also see you as another sheep. Not only that, but before you can advance to the next stage, you have to answer a question in the confessional that affects your karma meter. The first choice you pick is sent to the network and you get to see what other people answered. Though I have to wonder how many people answered honestly and how many were just trying to get a certain ending. I was most certainly the latter.

During the day, you hang out at a bar called The Stray Sheep. The only way to pass the time is by talking to people. There are some people you’ll recognize as sheep in the nightmare world. If you talk to them and respond correctly, they will live another day. If not, they end up on the news. How you respond to people’s questions also affects your Karma meter. Let me tell you, more people tend to die on one path than they do on another. I know, after hearing what some of these guys say, they seem like complete ***holes and you want them to die. Then you get to know them and realize that there’s more to them than meets the eye. You can also listen to songs you unlock on the jukebox. There is a bathroom you can use to wash your face and get a preview of the next boss you’ll be facing. You’ll also be playing a game called Rapunzel that has the same style that your nightmares have. Just think of it as practice. This is also where you can check your phone and send text messages. If that’s not enough, you can order a cocktail, whiskey, sake, or a beer. When you’ve finished your glass, you can receive trivia about the alcohol you just drank. The more you drink, the faster you move in the dream world. So the daytime game play is basically this.

As I said earlier, the theme is marriage. One of the women in Vincent’s life wants it and the other one doesn’t. Personally, I don’t want it and I can’t really see why a successful career woman like Katherine does. She has her whole life all figured out and she’s in control. Why she would want to marry and give it up is beyond me. The only explanation I can think of is that her friends and parents are pressuring her, and she picked Vincent because he was the least likely to control her. So no, Vincent, women who don’t want to tie the knot like Catherine are not unusual. So, in all reality, women who are mature and career oriented, like Katherine, would more likely not want to get married, while women who are childish and bubbly, like Catherine, would want to get married as soon as possible. Then they end up with a loser and regret it for the rest of their lives. Before I get a bunch of angry comments, I’m just going by the marriages I’ve seen. So, it’s hard for me to see married life as order when all the marriages around me have been chaos. Yes, I am well aware of Catherine’s back story, so don’t tell me in the comments. I’m just stating my opinion.

This game not only has an intriguing story line, it also has characters with all sorts of hidden depths and a very mature theme. Not to mention that trying to get to the top before dying has its own excitement. I give this game 9 out of 10, great story, great characters and great game play, even if it can be sexist at times. I just have one question for any readers (well the ones that like women or go both ways). Who do you prefer, Katherine or Catherine?


A hooded figure takes a long journey.  Along the way, he or she will meet others like him or her and discover what happened to the place where he or she is traveling.

That’s exactly what the game is about, some unknown character travelling.  You don’t know why they’re doing it, what they hope to accomplish, or even if the character’s a girl or a boy.  All you know for sure is that when you reach the end of the level, some being shows you artwork of a lost civilization.  The people here only seem to communicate through music notes and body language, and the only thing close to voice work is the sad song that plays through some parts of the game.  The whole plot is left to your interpretation.  Is the traveler a lost alien from another planet researching the remains of the one he or she is left on?  Is the traveler a result of an evolved race of humans who have reached the point where speech is no longer a necessity?  The reincarnation of a member of the race he or she is studying in order to advance to a higher plane of existence?  What happened to the civilization that the traveler’s researching?  Did they kill each other fighting for resources and destroy the planet along with themselves?  There are so many different interpretations that it’s up to your brain to decide which one’s the true one.

The game play itself is very unique.  Like I said, the only way people seem to communicate in this world is through music notes and body language.  During each level, you meet one person who is playing the game.  Is it the same person or is it a different person throughout each level?  There’s no name to identify who you’re traveling with and you can’t even type messages to communicate to the other person.  It’s not until you reach the credits you even find out who you were travelling with in the first place.  The character might as well have been controlled by the computer.  You don’t even have to cooperate with the person if you don’t want to.  If they’re more interested in exploring the ruins than in getting to the end of the level, you can just leave them there.  If the situation’s reversed, you can just let the person go ahead of you.  The characters also have a long ribbon attached to their robes that allows them to take flight.  How long you can fly depends on the length of the ribbon and how much power is in it.  You can gather more by using you ability to make notes to collect energy from flying ribbons (yes, I am aware of how stupid that sounds), or your companion can use that ability to grant you power.  You can also do the same for your companion.

The plot itself is open to interpretation, but the music and artwork really help set the mood.  Not to mention that the way player interaction is handled, it actually feels like you’re traveling with a stranger.  I give this game 8 out of 10, the perfect game for an aspiring writer.