Game Review: Lifeline Games 1-3
Title: Lifeline, Lifeline: Silent Night, Lifeline 2
Developer: 3-Minute Games
Platform: iOS, Android, Amazon
Like most people, I’ve got a mobile phone but it doesn’t get much use. I text occasionally, I make calls when I’m away from home base, and every so often, I play games. I’d seen some mention of Lifeline online, but I ignored them, far too much of a down-low hipster to give into hype, but when a friend sent me a link to the game’s GooglePlay store page, I couldn’t pretend not to be interested any longer.
Lifeline is a series of games you play on your phone. You get mobile messages from a character in peril and it’s your job to guide them through and keep them level headed. The characters are so well written, it’s easy to forget you’re not talking to an actual person. With the first game in the series, messages were infrequent. If the character said she were going to sleep, you didn’t hear from her for several real-time hours, making this game play stretch over several days (can’t say that about too many story driven phone games). When talking to her, conversations can go from 5-10 minutes at a time. They’re mostly one-sided and when you do get to respond, they’re with predetermined answers, but you do get options.
Lifeline follows Taylor, a scientist who gets marooned on a seemingly dead planet when her ship crashes. In trying to find help, her transmission reaches you, the player. She takes you through her whole ordeal from trying to find food to surviving the night. When the game was over, I actually missed talking to her.
Lifeline: Silent Night picks up where the first stops with Taylor getting rescued. This game was a little less enjoyable for me because of how fast paced it was. Granted, given the events of the story, it makes sense that things go by quicker, but there was something alluring about the setup of the first one where you had to wait, holding your breath to see if Taylor would respond at all or if she didn’t make it. I believe the time between messages in this game ranged from 10 minutes to a half hour, but it’s been a while, so I can’t say with 100 percent certainty. The way the game ends is hopeful, leaving you wanting to hear from Taylor again. I, for one, hope she’s doing well. (Note: I’m not sure where I got the idea that Taylor’s female. I honestly can’t remember hearing the character explicitly say so. That’s just the vibe I got. I’m sure there are others out there who say Taylor is a dude. I think that adds to how good this game is. It absolutely doesn’t matter what Taylor is. You can see it as either or nothing and it doesn’t take away from the game at all.)
Lifeline 2 is the first departure from Taylor-centric stories. This time, you’re getting messages from Arika, a witch on a mission, who’s Taylor’s spiritual successor in wise cracks and her dedication to getting shit done. This game was more like the first Lifetime as far as time between messages and the length of time to play. I didn’t find Arika as likable as Taylor, but by the end, I was rooting for her all the same.
Despite the changes through the games, each one was fun and not just a rehash of the stories that came before it.
With the release of Lifeline: Whiteout, I’m trying to figure out if I want to play–no, I am going to play, just not yet. The main character isn’t Taylor (hint hint 3-Minute devs) but I’ve no doubt the game’s still going to be engaging and will keep my glued to my phone until the end.