From the studio that brought you ‘’Life is Strange’, Dontnod Studios, have come back with Tell Me Why. Published by Xbox Game Studios, you play as twins, Tyler and Alison, as they tell you the story of their childhood where a tragic event has shaped their lives. This beautiful narrative adventure game has you exploring the Snowy Alaskan mountains as you unravel the mystery surrounding Allison and Tyler.
Artistically, this game is amazing the landscapes and characters are stunningly realistic. The voice actors do a fantastic job of bringing the characters to life, too. During the beginning of the game, you take a ferry across the waters to get to the small town Tyler And Allison grew up in. Once there, you have the freedom of wandering the ferry and looking over the edge to see beautiful mountains and swirling sea below. A whale even breeches out of the spray as you look around, it was just so stunning visually. The music compliments the game style nicely, changing from a relaxed tempo during exploration to a more intense atmospheric feel during the traumatic scenes.
Tell Me Why is broken up into 3 chapters, much like a book series or T.V. show; this was an interesting way to do things. Being a narrative adventure, you don’t have many controls, you simply walk around, interactive with things, pick from dialogue choices each of which will allow you to direct the conversation. Since Allison and Tyler are twins, they share a link they call their “voice”. This allows them to read each other’s minds and share visions of their memories.
The game consists of you switching between each character as you walk around different parts of the town looking at clues and talking to the citizens. While the game has a few challenges and puzzles; and depending on how you interact with the other characters can affect how the story goes and what answers you get, it just wasn’t enough for me. Then gameplay is very simple and slowly progressive, definitely not for the action, fast paced player.
Tell Me Why takes a look into some topics that may be hard for some people, as someone who has not had to deal with some of these issues it is eye opening to hear and see what occurs. The pair go through a lot of self-discovery and identity reflection something a younger audience make not understand. Separated when they are young, they both lead very different lives but must reunite over family ghosts at their old family home. Upon getting to the house secrets of what caused their mother’s mental break and subsequence instabilities in this family begin to unravels. It is very on the nose content, but refreshing.
I can appreciate what Tell Me Why was trying to get across, I just wish it had more gameplay, perhaps with mini games incorporated. I always struggle with narrative games; I find it unimaginative walking around clicking on things waiting for the story to come together. I admit the beautiful design and wanting to genuinely understand the position a LGBTQ person goes through helped me stay committed to playing the game through. Someone not invested in the story however would probably be bored by the actual game play, it is certainly an acquired taste.
- Stunning artwork
- Atmospheric music
- Interesting Story
- Gameplay is a bit bland
- Not enough mini games to break up monotonous of pointing and clicking