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8 Games like Life Is Strange in 2021

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If you’re here, we assume you’ve already played Life is Strange and just can’t get enough of it. So *warning* – Spoilers Ahead!

Life is Strange was a simple, beautiful, coming-of-age tale about the struggles of adolescence. For many of us, it was a roller-coaster ride, taking us gracefully through every human emotion possible. There’s no shame in admitting that we all shed a tear (uncontrollable sobbing for some of us), when Max had to make the inevitable choice between saving Arcadia Bay, or saving the life of her childhood friend Chloe.

Gorgeous visuals and a hauntingly exquisite soundtrack really cemented the story of Max and Chloe into our hearts. So it’s understandable that you’re now looking to fill the hollow that Life is Strange left with more games in the same genre. Well, look no further, because we have compiled some of the best story-driven experience games ever created.

8 Games like Life is Strange

1. Heavy Rain

  • Initial release date: 23 February 2010
  • Genre: Interactive drama, action-adventure
  • Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment, Quantic Dream (PC)
  • Developers: Quantic Dream
  • Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows

“How far will you go to save someone you love?” – That’s the premise of Heavy Rain.

You play as four different protagonists, each with their own motives, in a desperate search for the Origami Killer, aptly named for leaving folded paper shapes on their victims.

Through quick time events and performing actions highlighted on screen, you are able to interact with the environment and these decisions lead to branching storylines.

A gripping psychological thriller, Heavy Rain is filled with countless twists and turns, where even the most insignificant of choices can have dramatic consequences. If you’re looking for a truly addictive story and willing to be submerged by its emotional complexity, Heavy Rain is a solid 10/10.

2. Detroit: Become Human

  • Initial release date: 25 May 2018
  • Genre: Adventure
  • Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment (PS4), Quantic Dream (PC)
  • Developers: Quantic Dream
  • Platforms: PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows

Another story-focused adventure game from Sony Interactive Entertainment and Quantic Dream, Detroit: Become Human answers the age-old question of what happens when AI develops human-like intellect and emotions.

The plot of the game follows three androids: Markus – who dedicates his life to freeing other androids from servitude, Connor – whose job it is to track down sentient androids, and Kara – who flees from her owner in order to explore her newfound sentience and protect a young girl.

Similar to Heavy Rain, players are able to interact with the game through quick time events and dialogue decisions that lead to branching storylines.

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With three intricately designed characters, Detroit: Become Human ambitiously sets the stage for a full-scale android revolution with all three of them right in the thick of it. If you’re the type that appreciates an impressive sci-fi drama where your choices decide the outcome, this game will satisfy all those cravings.

3. Gone Home

  • Initial release date: 15 August 2013
  • Genre: Adventure, Exploration
  • Publisher: The Fullbright Company, Majesco Entertainment (PlayStation 4/Xbox One), Annapurna Interactive (Switch/iOS)
  • Developers: The Fullbright Company, BlitWorks (Switch)
  • Platforms: Linux, Microsoft Windows, OS X, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, iOS

Officially a first-person narrative exploration game, Gone Home was christened something else by the critics and fans of the community alike – a “walking simulator”. A one of a kind genre that placed focus on exploration with minimal interactivity.

You are Katie Greenbriar. After a year abroad, you have returned home. You expect to be greeted by your family, but the house is deserted. Where is everyone and what’s going on? These questions form the premise of the game.

Your job is simple. Explore and examine every detail of a seemingly ordinary house to learn about the people who lived there. Any door or drawer is yours to open. Find clues, pick up objects, and investigate every aspect of what the family has left behind to uncover their secrets.

This is a game that gave birth to a whole genre of explorative adventure. The moment you step foot inside the Greenbriar home, you’ll find yourself hooked till the end. Gone Home is a truly poignant story that will stay with you for years to come.

4. The Longest Journey

  • Initial release date: November 18, 1999
  • Genre: Single Player, Adventure
  • Publisher: Empire Interactive, Tri Synergy
  • Developers: Funcom
  • Platforms: Microsoft Windows, iOS

We know what you’re thinking. “A game that was released almost two decades ago? That seems way out of place on this list!”

Well, you might be surprised, but believe us when we tell you that this is a game that’s often referred to as one of the best adventure games of all time.

The Longest Journey takes place between two worlds: Stark – the industrial, scientific and technological hub, and Arcadia – the enchanting, medieval, world of magic. Both Stark and Arcadia are diametrical twin worlds, existing parallelly in balance. However, that delicate balance is now in danger.

You play as of April Ryan, an art student from Stark who finds herself thrown headlong into the world of Arcadia. The fate of both worlds now rests in your hands.

What makes The Longest Journey similar to Life is Strange is the relatability with the protagonist. Like you or me, April is just a normal person. She has no special skills or unique weapons. She doesn’t possess genius intellect or super strength. Over the course of her journey, we see her grow and develop, and that makes her one of the most real characters in gaming, ever.

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Two decades later, this game still holds a special place in our hearts.

5. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

  • Initial release date: September 26, 2014
  • Genre: Single Player, Adventure
  • Publisher: The Astronauts
  • Developers: The Astronauts
  • Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

Unlike most video games today that place great emphasis on combat, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is one that relies entirely upon tone, freedom and environmental storytelling to provide an unforgettable gaming experience.

As Paul Prospero, a paranormal investigator, you journey to rural Wisconsin to find the titular missing boy, Ethan Carter.

You have the ability to see into the past and piece together memory fragments that reward you with pieces of the backstory, helping you solve the mystery.

An impressive aspect of the game is that right from the start, you are free to wander anywhere you want without any movement restrictions. The game offers little guidance, thus encouraging you to explore and figure out the game in your own sweet time.

The graphics is also beyond outstanding, with sprawling valleys, shimmering lakes, and autumnal forests dotting the Wisconsin countryside. It’s rare to find such picturesque locations in most paranormal games.

I would highly recommend this game as it’s one of those rare, powerful mysteries that holds your intrigue till the end credit scene rolls.

6. Firewatch

  • Initial release date: February 9, 2016
  • Genre: Adventure
  • Publisher: Panic, Campo Santo
  • Developers: Campo Santo
  • Platforms: Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

Firewatch is an adventure game that places emphasis on love, loss, and loneliness.

You play as Henry, a fire lookout at Shoshone National Forest, a year after the Yellowstone fires of 1988. Strange things start happening to you a month after your first day at work, which ties back to a long-forgotten mystery. You communicate with your supervisor, Delilah, via walkie-talkie, and select from a complex set of dialog options to proceed. Your conversations with Delilah shape the way your relationship develops over the course of the game.

Some of the game mechanics include puzzle-solving, reading maps, consulting a compass, and exploring the environment for hidden exits. You will be constantly engaged by the narrative storyline, and soon find yourself heavily invested in the life of Henry.

With a total playtime of just under 5 hours, Firewatch may be one of the shortest games on this list. But don’t judge a book by its cover.

Firewatch is one of the games where you can get completely lost in without any distractions. With a gripping story, brilliant branching script, wholly convincing voice-acting performances, and stunning art direction, this is one of those solitary, escapist experiences that every gamer needs to live through.

7. What Remains of Edith Finch

  • Initial release date: April 25, 2017
  • Genre: Single Player, Adventure
  • Publisher: Annapurna Interactive
  • Developers: Giant Sparrow
  • Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
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What Remains of Edith Finch is a heartbreakingly sweet adventure that blends exploration and fantasy into one beautiful experience. Prepare yourself to feel true sadness while playing this, the likes of which you’ve never felt in another game.

The game centers on the character of Edith, a member of the Finch family who returns to her family’s home off the coast of Washington. Edith is the sole surviving member of the Finch family, as an ancient curse causes all but one member of each generation to die in unusual ways.

As Edith, your duty is to learn about your relatives and their deaths by visiting their bedrooms, sealed off and treated as shrines to their memory. Each death is played out in a short gameplay sequence, thus culminating in a dramatic retelling of the family’s history and fate through Edith’s narration.

Explore the Finch house and surrounding wilderness through rooms, footpaths and secret crawlspaces to uncover your family’s history and bring closure to the stories of the Finch ancestors.

The beauty of the game lies in its melancholic progression. It lets you deeply know each member of the family before taking them away. You’ll find yourself loving those people just enough that you genuinely miss them when you realise they’re no more.

Definitely a tear-jerker, so see for yourself!

8. The Last of Us

  • Initial release date: June 14, 2013
  • Genre: Action-adventure, survival horror
  • Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
  • Developers: Naughty Dog
  • Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4

Often hailed as “the last great PlayStation 3 game”, The Last of Us was a critically acclaimed title that brought laurels back to the aging Playstation 3 console at the time.

The game follows the journey of two characters – an adult and a child – with nothing but absolute despair surrounding them as they navigate a desperate, post-apocalyptic world. It’s the compelling story of a zombie outbreak, told through the eyes of a tired, grizzled survivor named Joel and a young girl, Ellie.

The gameplay revolves around using firearms and improvised weapons, as well as stealth, to defend against hostile humans and cannibalistic creatures infected by a mutated fungus in the genus Cordyceps. The game will take you across stunningly rendered towns, buildings, forests, and sewers, all of them ravaged in the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse.

In Life is Strange, we found ourselves captivated by the relationship between Max and Chloe. Similarly, Joel and Ellie’s relationship is where the essence of the Last of Us lies. They’re two very different people who bond over the course of a frightening and arduous journey. And it’s precisely that relationship that makes the player fall in love with them.

Seamlessly intertwining satisfying, choice-based gameplay with a stellar narrative, we can promise you that this is a game you’ll definitely want to play over and over again.

Quadir is to blame for all this. A Mechanical engineer and a tech nerd. I love technology and everything about tech, anime, and games. You can contact me at quadir@hablr.com

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