Mystery Abounds in Lifestream: A Preview
Lifestream, a text adventure by Unimatrix Productions, blends interaction and story seamlessly for a simple yet immersive gaming experience. Unlike visual novels, text adventures combine elements of adventure or RPG gameplay. Lifestream does this through exploration, puzzle solving, and item interactions to further the story. With an intriguing story centered around a missing person, Lifestream showcases what makes it a worthy investment in its demo.
What Lifestream does right is the story.
A man who is withered and torn by a recent discovery sits in his study. That same man then disappears. Playing as his son in the demo, you set off to find clues as to his disappearance, starting with the family home. This is where the interaction with the game begins. A tutorial walks you through the controls then you are set loose to explore.
Searching and inspecting items is a large part of the game. Clues that expand the story, shed light on the character's past, and allow players to solve puzzles are all hidden in plain sight. The puzzles vary from figuring out passwords to finding out how to enter a certain area. While not the hardest to complete in the demo, they did get progressively harder, implying that end game puzzles may be rather difficult to solve.
The only con was in the writing of the story.
While the story line in and of itself makes me want to play more, there are some points of repetition. There are moments where I felt like I had read the exact same sentence as earlier. While as a writer and reader, this can put me off a bit, overall I do not feel like it impacts the game to the point that I would stop playing. It is also stated that the length of the game is equal to a full length novel in terms of word count, which makes the repetition a bit more forgivable.
While the game is still in development and the demo was just a preview of things to come, I would say this preview is quite good. Along with the rest of the story that will unravel in the full game, Lifestream is part of Unimatrix Productions' Storycentric Worlds, where all the games will be interconnecting in some way. I cannot wait to see how this evolves throughout the various story lines.