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OXENFREE II: Lost Signals (Switch) Review

by Joe DeVader - July 12, 2023, 4:07 am EDT
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In 2016 Night School Studio released their debut title Oxenfree, a horror thriller about a group of teenagers who ferry out to a nearby island for a night of debauchery. Things go south when, using their radio, they accidentally rip open a portal to a bunch of ghosts and cause a whole mess of temporal shenanigans. It is one of my favorite games of all time, a master class in sound design and atmosphere with a method of handling dialogue in a way that sounds natural and flows well. Now, much to my surprise, a sequel has arrived over seven years later. The announcement of Oxenfree II: Lost Signals filled me with equal parts excitement and worry, as it had a very large pair of shoes it would have to fill to hold up to its predecessor. Fortunately that worry ended up being unnecessary.

In Oxenfree II the player is put in the role of Riley Poverly, a contract worker who has accepted a job setting up radio transceivers to investigate strange signals interrupting air traffic radio over Camena, the coastal town across from the first game’s Edwards Island. Joining her is another contractor, Jacob Summers, a repairman and aspiring artist living near the town’s main square. When the two set up their first transceiver they suddenly notice a large triangle shaped portal over the distant Edwards Island, and a beam of energy shoots from the transceiver into it. From there they are both launched into a series of spooks and time loops possibly related to the studies of the late Maggie Adler, an old lady who once called Edwards Island home. Riley and Jacob learn they must set up three more transceivers in specific areas of the region, and also begin to learn about the plot of three teenagers connected to a local cult who appear to be trying to open the ghost portal on purpose for some mysterious reason.

The plot and characters are the main draw to Oxenfree II and both Riley and Jacob absolutely deliver. While I enjoy Alex and her friends, the main characters of the original game, their status as teenagers made it hard for my 24 year old self to fully relate to them. Riley, on the other hand, is like me: in her 30s, tired, and desperately just trying to scrape by however she can. Her story and baggage really come through and make her incredibly relatable, meanwhile her dialogue plays well off of Jacob’s awkward conversation starters and seemingly random facts. Dialogue in general flows in a very natural way, with dialogue options not only giving you more time to choose than they did in the original game but also flowing seamlessly between lines in a way that feels like a real conversation between two people. By far the biggest improvement to how the game handles dialogue over the first game is how conversations handle loading screens. In the original Oxenfree leaving an area would abruptly end any conversation that was going on, which meant if you wanted to hear the whole thing you’d usually have to sit and wait for it to end. In Lost Signals if you enter a loading zone while somebody is talking, they will finish their line on top of the loading screen. Once you’ve loaded into the new area the conversation picks back up exactly where it was, including if it was a moment where Riley had dialogue options to choose from. This is a small change but a heavily appreciated one.

Much like its predecessor, Oxenfree II is a fantastic example of sound design and atmosphere. Music is creepy and largely atmospheric, and the sound of the ghosts of Edwards Island speaking through snippets of radio broadcasts remains just as spooky and cool now as it was in 2016. Gameplay is overall the same as the first game but with three major additions. First, Riley has a walkie talkie that she can pull out throughout the game, with different channels representing different characters that she can check in with as the story goes forward such as the amateur sailor Nick or her work contact Evelyn. Each of these characters give more life to the town of Camena and their side stories help flesh out the events occurring around it. Second is the introduction of tears in time leading to the past, which Riley and Jacob can enter in order to find their way around obstacles in the present. Lastly in place of the winding minigame from the first title, Lost Signals includes a mini game requiring you to turn dials in order to match a 3D wire frame shape with an outline on screen. I found this to be the least interesting addition as I personally never found it super intuitive and felt like I was just bumbling along until I accidentally figured it out.

What it ultimately comes down to is that if you liked the original Oxenfree, then you will probably enjoy Oxenfree II. It should be noted that while the game ran smoothly for most of its run time I did run into a few minor bugs, most notably a dialogue bubble staying on screen when I took out Riley’s radio just as a different cutscene was happening. These were inconsequential, but what was not was the fact that exactly one time the game did crash on me. Luckily the game is constantly auto saving so no progress was lost, but any crash is still frustrating nonetheless. Getting past those though, I found this second entry into the story of Edwards Island to be worthwhile. The world feels dark and mysterious, the voice actors are all killing their roles, and for those who have played the original game you will probably walk away feeling satisfied with at least one of the possible endings the game offers, I know I was.


  • Dialogue is well written, flows naturally, and is entertaining
  • I found my ending extremely satisfying
  • Yet another master class in sound design and atmosphere
  • A few minor bugs here and there, but also crashed once
  • The new shape morphing puzzles aren't the most intuitive

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Genre Adventure
Developer Night School Studio

Worldwide Releases

na: OXENFREE II: Lost Signals
Release Jul 12, 2023
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