Life is Strange: True Colors is the 5th game in the Life is Strange franchise and is the 2nd game that is handled by the developer Deck Nine. If you are unfamiliar with this award-winning series, Life is Strange puts you in the shoes of a young adult who’s mundane life suddenly gets turned upside down by some traumatic event that also awakens some kind of power with in them.
In True Colors, you control Alex Chen as she travels to Haven Springs to reunite with her estranged brother, Gabe. We learn early on that the Chen siblings were separated due to the foster care system and this would be the first time in 8 years that they would see each other again. We are also given a hint that Alex has issues being around people. This is because Alex’s super power is Empathy.
Alex’s power allows her to see how other people are feeling. If they are angry, they give off a red aura, if they are scared, it is purple and blue aura when they are sad. And when people are feeling that emotion, strongly enough, Alex can see the world through their eyes. Most of True Color’s exciting and engaging set pieces are when Alex sees the world through other people. A favorite of mine happens in Episode 3 but I won’t say what it is. You have to experience it for yourself.
If you watched the trailer, you will be aware that early in the game an incident involving the Mining Company Typhon happens that significantly impacts Alex’s life in Haven Springs and she now has to solve the mystery of that incident. Alex’s ability allows her to know what people are truly feeling. This gives her a better idea on what to say to or ask a person to get them to open up to her. By doing so, she gets to know the people of Haven Springs a little bit more and is important in helping them solve the mystery of Typhon.
Alex is not alone in her journey. She is joined by Ryan, a forest ranger and Gabe’s best friend, as well as Steph, a close friend of Gabe and the resident DJ of Haven Springs. Both of which are potential romance partners for Alex. While Ryan is a new character, Steph was actually first seen in Before the Storm, tying this game back to the original Life is Strange title.
Outside the 3 main characters, Haven Springs is populated by all sorts of folks. Some lovable, some not so much. You have Jed, Ryan’s dad and the owner of the town’s bar, who acts as a father figure to both Alex ang Gabe. Riley, the florist who aspires to go to college. Ducky, the town drunk. Charlotte, the owner of the town’s marijuana dispensary, and Ethan, a young child who is arguably the 4th main character of the story and is undoubtedly my favorite side character of True Colors.
The game plays like your typical adventure game but unlike the first Life is Strange where it jumps all over the school and town, True Colors is set primarily in just the one block. While this does make True Colors appear to be a little more scaled back than previous titles, it actually makes it more intimate. Which for a game that is heavily focused on story and character, is a huge plus.
Scaling the game back to one main area allows us to interact with the majority of the main cast as much as possible. We get to know more about them and invest in them more. While I personally related so much more to the cast of Life is Strange 1 due to things that happened in my life, I still feel a strong connection to each and every member of Haven Springs.
The story moves pretty fast. Each of the 5 chapters only being 2-3 hours long, you can finish the game in 10 hours. And each chapter ends in a way that you want to hop right into the next chapter.
While I enjoyed the story overall, it does borrow some things from Life is Strange 1 that made me go “Been there, done that”. There was also a revelation towards the end that just did not sit well with me. It felt inserted but that’s just me.
The one thing I love about this game though is that it feels like all your decisions mattered. There is a bit in the end where the game put everything you have done front and center and it was quite refreshing to not have a binary ending for an action adventure game.
Life is Strange: True Colors is a captivating adventure game which keeps you wanting to know what’s next. It has a wonderful set of casts some of which I am actually in love with. It is a must play for any fan of the genre.