The Germans most likely have a phrase for Life is Strange: True Colors, however I don’t. Like each sport within the collection, grief and ache are on the forefront. Our protagonist Alex Chen has been tossed across the foster care system and views her energy as an Empath – actually projecting and absorbing feelings, typically with no management over them – as extra of a curse. She lastly settles in Haven Springs within the hopes of beginning a brand new life, just for her brother Gabe to be killed in a tragic accident she feels a minimum of partially liable for. Regardless of all this disappointment, Life is Strange: True Colors is the happiest sport of the yr.
A part of that is all the way down to main mild Alex Chen. She’s probably the most vibrant character gaming has seen in a very long time, and the sport embraces her vulnerability and emotional wounds completely. She is tender and delicate, but in addition humorous, shy, courageous, resolute, foolish, clever, and endlessly relatable. I like Life is Unusual as a collection, and I nonetheless would place the unique over True Colours by a hair, however Alex underlines how tropey a few of the earlier characters have really been, and that is a part of why she exceeds them.
Life is Unusual video games wish to make you cry. They earn this proper with compelling storylines, advanced themes, and characters you root for regardless of the sometimes cringe dialogue, but it surely nonetheless looks like a deliberate, deliberate assault in your tear ducts. In True Colours, you’re free to cry if you wish to, however the sport is much extra involved with making you smile.
The sport isn’t actually about Gabe. The plot is pushed ahead first by his demise, then by the city’s grief, then by the thriller that led to his demise, however all through all of it, Alex is the main target. Gabe, and ideas of him, stay an enormous a part of her life and act as a throughline for the general narrative message, however she is far, far more than that lady whose brother died. She’s far more than that lady with superpowers too – that Alex doesn’t regard her energy as an influence provides her much more freedom to be an actual, grounded character. She’s in a position discover her grief in her personal methods; typically with anger, typically with disappointment, and typically with foosball. As a result of the sport has no intentions of intentionally making you cry, it’s far more comfy letting Alex be completely satisfied, regardless of every part.
I’m a strolling cliche – I listened to Taylor Swift’s Crimson album on repeat after my first main break-up. We’d been going out for over three years, however the break-up was not sudden. I picked Crimson notably for All Too Nicely, The Second I Knew, I Nearly Do, Unhappy Lovely Tragic, and different melancholic musings, however ended up primarily listening to the much more upbeat We Are By no means Ever Getting Again Collectively, Starlight, 22, and Crimson. True Colours jogs my memory of listening to Taylor Swift again then.
The musical connection is becoming, since music is a key side of True Colours’ pleasure. There are a number of zen moments within the sport the place you may sit and chill, simply taking within the music. Our personal Jade King even spoke to Julia Stone, the artist behind these moments, however music is all over the place all through True Colours. Within the first chapter, Gabe will get you the Mechanical Bull vinyl and you may rock out to Kings of Leon’s Do not Matter for principally the entire monitor. Alex additionally has a particular voice actor for her singing voice, bed room lo-fi artist mxmtoon, who performs Creep and a handful of different tunes all through the sport. Certainly one of these moments is a reside efficiency of Blister within the Solar, which is definitely probably the most endearing three minutes in a online game this yr for Alex’s efficiency, the best way the sport commits to letting unfastened, and the framing each earlier than and after it.
I’ve already spent a completely separate article praising the game’s depiction of Alex as canonically bisexual rather than playersexual with no attraction other than that which you thrust upon her, but it surely bears repeating that the sport’s embrace of Alex’s queerness, quirkiness, and loving coronary heart is one other cornerstone of what makes it so particular and heartfelt. That is aided by your romantic choices, Ryan and Steph, and the best way the sport slowly builds a flirtatious but deep connection between all three of you, fairly than making you bounce by means of hoops to lock in your decisions.
There’s additionally an entire LARP session round city that embraces the very fact you’re taking part in a online game fairly than collaborating in a narrative, and maintains the upbeat and heat tone the remainder of the sport enjoys, even when fragments of the ache and struggling everybody has needed to endure can sometimes pierce by means of the day.
Life is Unusual: True Colours is gorgeous, heartbreaking, heartfelt, hilarious, and lovely. It is Taylor Swift on repeat. It is magical.
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