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Lifeline for iPhone and Apple Watch

Lifeline for iPhone and Apple Watch

Platform: iPhone/iPod
Category: Adventure

Lifeline is a new iPhone and Apple Watch game released last week by 3 Minute Games. It's a fascinating piece of interaction fiction, simulating text messages. Taylor, an astronaut of unspecified gender, crashes on a distant moon and texts you. Your choices shape Taylor's survival.

Graphics and Sound

Both the graphics and sound are very basic, which fits the game well. The screen is simply a list of incoming text messages on a black background, feeling desolate, lonely, and impersonal. The background music complements this nicely, adding to the foreboding feeling. There's no happiness here.


The game is played entirely by reading messages and choosing responses. Sometimes Taylor wants to chat. Sometimes Taylor just wants to chat or asks for advice. When Taylor asks you a question, you choose from two options. Lifeline progresses in real time. Sometimes Taylor will tell you it'll take an hour to do something, and then you won't hear from Taylor until that time has passed.

While it does take real time for Taylor to complete tasks, you don't have to make your choice right away. The game effectively pauses while Taylor waits for your response. Lifeline took me about three days to finish, and it does comet to a logical conclusion with a terrific story. After I finished, I wondered if it was possible to fail. After replaying, I chose different answers. Yep, your answers definitely have an impact. Not all choices matter, but some certainly shape Taylor's survival.

It's important to point out that the delays feel natural and important. This isn't a free-to-play game with artificial delays that can be boosted with money. There are no ads, and there are no in-app purchases. Once you buy the game, you're good to go.


Lifeline is a great piece of science-fiction, and the interactive element is a bonus. A lot of the hype has been around the fact that it's an Apple Watch game, but if you don't have an Apple Watch, don't let that stop you. I enjoyed it on my iPhone. I'm a fan of interactive fiction and visual novels, especially on mobile platforms, and this was right up my alley. Lately I've felt disillusioned with so many games feeling stale, rehashed, or just frankly unimportant to the medium. Lifeline is fresh and interesting. Lifeline is currently $2.99 on the Apple App Store. If you have an iPhone or Apple Watch, I recommend it.

You can reach me at @TheUser on Twitter. Sometimes I play games. Sometimes I write. Sometimes I do other things.


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