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Oxenfree II: Lost Signals

Oxenfree II Lost Signals


Release Date

ESRB Rating




Bob Hoose

Game Review

Oxenfree, released in 2016,was a visual novel/adventure game focused on a small group of teen friends caught up in an odd supernatural happening. The game definitely sported a Stranger Things-like vibe. And the sequel, Oxenfree II: Lost Signals, has a similar feel and attractive 2-D art style.

While the first game took place on Edwards Island—an isle that hosted a disaster in World War II—this new tale takes place in the nearby small port town of Camena. Gamers play as Riley, a 30-something who’s returning to her hometown to take employment as an environmental researcher. Well, it’s really more of a step-and-fetch-it job. But it’s income. And the job requires little more than her knowledge of the surrounding locale.

Riley is teamed up with a chatty guy named Jacob, and their job is simple: plant radio transmitters on high points in the area. Those transmitters are ostensibly being set to study radio frequencies and measure electromagnetic anomalies, but once Riley and Jacob plant the first one, strange things begin to happen on Edwards Island just across the bay.

From there, Riley and Jacob continue trekking about and setting their transmitters in an attempt to figure out what exactly is going on. And in the course of things, they encounter odd tears in the fabric of time and space; unravel a hidden history of the area; fend off vengeful ghosts; deal with a quirky cult; interact with characters from the first game; and dig deeper into their own personal pasts and relationships.

It’s that blending of bizarre events and laid-back conversations during a long trek that give this title from Netflix Gamesits sci-fi-tinged appeal. There’s no heart-thumping action or difficult gaming challenges in the mix. But the branching-dialogue choices do shape the tale and determine how others react to you. And each choice and decision peels back layer after onionskin layer of the creepy paranormal story at play.


The games 2-D artwork is appealing, and its story is involving. Players can also, through dialogue choices, choose to help others, both physically and emotionally.

No matter what choices are made, players ultimately work to thwart evil forces and save the innocent. In some cases, steps are made to heal past (and future) relationships. And we see single parents making sacrifices for their children. For example, Riley reveals that she is pregnant in the present. In the course of the game’s time distortions, she sees her relationship with her child turning rocky in the future. And she’s faced with the choice of positively changing her attitudes now to impact that relationship tomorrow.


A supernatural element at play here isn’t fully explained. Certain entities—seemingly ghosts from a past disaster—use time and space distortions in an effort to not only communicate with and tempt teens with power, but eventually take possession of their bodies. There’s also a religious cult group in Camena. They set up shrines and altars. (We never really encounter these cult members, but they present an ongoing sense of threat.)

The time fluxes also transport Riley to various points in her past and future. Riley ends up quite inebriated at a bar in one time flux. And all of those points seem to be filled with relationship catastrophes. For instance, Riley’s mother abandons the family. And even though her father tries to mend things, Riley’s relationship with him falls apart, too. Riley is pregnant out of wedlock. (The game does, however, point to ways that we can work to repair past or future choices.)

There’s quite a bit of profanity scattered through the dialogue, including uses of “h—,” “d–n,” “dumba–” and “a–hole.” God’s and Jesus’ names are both profaned.  


This Netflix Games title is a visual novel adventure that can almost feel like you’re streaming a Netflix series. But that includes the negative content, too.

Bob Hoose

After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.