The usual spoiler warnings apply for the Blind Lady Versus posts.
But in this case I didn’t get to finish the game.
Oxenfree is the first video game which has outright scared me in a while. it’s a cute game, visually, but the ways in which it manifests the haunting within the game makes you feel as though you’ve lost control of your own computer. Unfortunately, it became somewhat unplayable for me in part because of that, and because of the dialogue bubbles. Oxenfree has a great feel for conversational dialogue, and while I appreciate that, i think a way to slow down the speed at which bubbles disappear would have been valuable – see, I can’t read them fast enough. The bubbles are pastel colors, with white text inside – barely readable for me.
I can do it, but it takes a lot longer than it does for me to read, say, the text options in a Telltale Game (Oh yes, I’ve been playing them, and there is a Blind Lady Versus coming on Game of Thrones, Walking Dead AND Borderlands. I’m just gonna lump them all.)
The other challenging bit was the radio, again with low contrast, and small lettering it was difficult to see where I was on the dial. It’s possible to do with just your hearing (which is great) but I think a larger dial could have made it significantly more accessible than it was. In fact, this is part of why I stopped playing – alas this is another “Blind Lady Beaten By the Video Game” listing. I wanted to finish, because the creepy was so delightful – this is the first video game in a long time to make me scream at my desk – but unfortunately that was marred by the fact that I couldn’t get past a puzzle in front of a big gate. If you’ve played, you’ll know.
What I both liked and didn’t here, is that the game actually messes with your screen as part of the haunting – and this is part of why it scared me. I would often have to put my nose pretty close to the screen to read some of the text, and then the screen would scramble itself, flop over, and then I’d be both terrified, and confused, and have to readjust what I was looking at. Which is a higher degree of challenge, so while I liked the technique for scaring me, it did make the game significantly harder to play. With all of the choices you make it seems as though the game must have multiple endings and routes which you can follow – I only wish I’d been able to see my choices through to the end.
In the end, while the game was well designed, and well written, it was not a game I’d suggest for gamers with low vision because of the many struggles I had making the game work for me.