Human beings are very emotional creatures, it’s one of our better points…well, at least sometimes. We, as a species, use our emotions in most of our dealings with each other. One of the challenges of life is being able to read these emotions in others. However, what if rather than just being able to guess how a person is feeling based on context clues, you could do it simply by reading them and feeling how they feel.
That is one of the questions asked by Deck Nine’s Life Is Strange: True Colours. It is one of the questions posed, but it isn’t the only one. Life Is Strange: True Colours is the fifth game in the Life is Strange series but is the third in the mainline series. Now, before you ask, yes you have access to all the chapters from the get-go, unlike the others which were released piecemeal, so there’s no waiting to see what happens next.
Life Is Strange: True Colours follows the journey of Alexandra Chen, an orphan who has decided to move in with her estranged brother in the town of Haven. The town is small, with most of the people in it being under the employ of the mysterious Typhon mining company. Alex has her own issues, namely her strange abilities that she is trying to keep hidden. Essentially, Alex is an empath (I know, TikTok has ruined that whole thing) who can read people's thoughts and emotions. However, this ability comes at a cost, she can become a mirror of certain powerful emotions such as rage.
The plot starts slow, with not much being explained and it being up to the player to find out what in the world is going on. However, things quickly start to ramp up and the twists and turns are surprising rather than predictable. However, there is one weakness in the plot and that has to do with the choices that the player can make. I don’t know if you’ve ever played a Life Is Strange game, but if you haven’t just know that the player choices always impact the story. The problem here is that the choices aren’t that interesting.
One major strength of the game is the characters and the location. Life is Strange has always had relatively good writing. The use of small-town really helps this to be on display. The setting means there are fewer characters in the world. This means that the game can really focus on them and their interactions with Alex, especially as their relationships deepen. Special mention should be made for the interactions between Alex and Steph. Their burgeoning romance feels natural and the voice acting helps to engage the player in this small town and its people.
However, all the voice acting in the world can’t do anything if the gameplay isn’t fun. This is where the biggest issue with the game lies, at least with some people. Life Is Strange: True Colours is essentially a point and click game. The player spends most of their time walking through environments talking to people and interacting with objects. This is often where Alex’s powers come into play and allow for hidden options to be revealed. There are the occasional quick-time events but these are few and far between. If you enjoy this kind of gameplay then Life Is Strange: True Colours does it very well, but if you don’t then there isn’t much else to draw you in.
Thankfully, Life Is Strange: True Colours is helped by its visuals, especially regarding the environment. The town of Haven is gorgeous, especially with the mix of colours on display and the use of music. It all feels very scenic and then there are the improvements in the game's facial and physical animations. These improvements help to increase the immersion and make the fates of these characters feel more important. I already mentioned the music, but I’m going to do so again because the music really is amazing. The mix of indie rock songs contrasted with calming natural tones help to build a fantastic ambience that draws the player in.
Life Is Strange: True Colours is a game that offers a lot, but it is hard to really call it a ‘game’. Arguably it is more of a visual novel played out like a television show. The characters are memorable and the world is interesting, but it does feel like there could have been more for the player to really interact with. If you like the series or this type of game, then this is one for you. If you don’t maybe give it a try anyway, you might be surprised.