DONTNOD Entertainment are back at it again!
We know them as the developers behind games such as Remember Me, Vampyr and, of course, the critically acclaimed Life is Strange series. Currently they have two new games in the works. One being Twin Mirror and the other one, which I’ll be talking about, is Tell Me Why. The first episode was released on the 27th of August and will be followed weekly by the second and third episode, which will release on the 3rd of September and the 10th of September respectively.
Tell Me Why Episode 1 available on Microsoft Windows and Xbox One now!
Tell Me Why is a brand new adventure game that follows twins Alyson and Tyler Ronan. Both twins have been apart for the last 10 years of their lives due to Tyler being in juvenile detention as a result of an incident that happened during the twins childhood. Alyson and Tyler meet up after all this time and travel back to their old home in Alaska as they’re selling said home. Going back to their old house brings up old memories the twins would like not to remember, but these memories seem to show that everything the twins remember might not be what it seems. These memories bring back hard times, especially for Tyler who has since transitioned into a male. Alyson and Tyler decide to investigate their memories as they seem to have conflicting ideas of what happened.
You play this game by switching between both twins and investigating the environment. Like in the Life is Strange series, there are supernatural elements and this game bares no exception. While it’s not a supernatural ability on the “same level” as Life is Strange, this game has the twins experience something called a “Bond” which allows them to both view memories from years ago and also communicate to each other by their thoughts. Like I mentioned before, each twin seems to remember something different (although this isn’t always the case) and when it comes to making decisions, you can choose between Alyson’s memory or Tyler’s memory and doing so will affect their bond as siblings and also change the outcome of the story.
The first episode of Tell Me Why focuses on Alyson and Tyler reuniting after 10 years of being apart. They travel back to Alaska to their old home and as they’re looking around the house for things to keep and things to throw away, they experience memories of their mother who died when they were children and it is implied that Tyler was the one behind it and that’s how he ended up in juvenile detention.
The twins soon realise that everything they thought they knew about their mother might not be true, so they decide to talk to people involved in theirs and their mother’s lives to put together all the pieces that seem to be misplaced in their memories. Some people they speak to aren’t always willing to help, so Alyson and Tyler need to look around their environment to find clues and hints that will help them pry the truth from people who aren’t willing to talk.
In the end, it’s up to Alyson and Tyler to trust in each other as they dig deeper into their childhood memories that they thought they’d left behind long ago.
I’ve been looking forward to this game for quite a while, so I was very excited when I was able to play it. Unfortunately, this game is only available on Xbox One and Microsoft Windows, but luckily my boyfriend has a PC, so I was able to play the game on that.
One of the main things I like about this game was the honest depiction of possible struggles that transgender people face and the prejudice that also comes with that. Almost every character you come into contact with tried to front they were fine when talking to Tyler, but even their “casual” talk came with an obvious hint of awkwardness. But so far, Tyler is a brilliant character; very strong and happy with the person he is and I’m looking forward to more character development on his part.
Also it’s worth mentioning that DONTNOD worked very closely with GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) to make him, and I quote, “an authentic representation of the trans experience.”
Tyler’s voice actor, August Aiden Black, also identifies as a trans man which adds another level of authenticity to Tyler’s character and another thing is that while recording, August was given the freedom to talk about the script and make any changes to things Tyler says which adds yet another level of authenticity to Tyler. The fact the team has worked so hard to make Tyler the character he is definitely shows and he was truly brought to life on the screen.
The gameplay in general felt very smooth. Like Life is Strange, you’re controlling one character (though Tell Me Why switches between Alyson and Tyler), but the movement around the environment and selecting things felt very familiar to Life is Strange. One thing that bothered me a little bit was that the dialogue often overlapped with each other. Like sometimes you’d select an aspect of the environment to view and you’d observe it with the character talking about it and then the other sibling would respond to what they were saying which is fine. But sometimes if you selected to observe something, the sibling would make a comment on it and talk for a while, so you would carry on walking around the environment but then an option to respond to what the other sibling was saying would appear while you were already talking about something else which was kind of confusing. I don’t know if that was just me being impatient and not waiting for the other character to finish talking, but it did feel like sometimes there was a lag between the character talking and for an option to reply to appear and I felt like I missed out on a few chances to improve the siblings bond because the option to reply would disappear if I’d already moved onto something else.
One improvement I definitely noticed was the incredible lack of bugs compared to Life is Strange 2. That game constantly seemed full of bugs whereas Tell Me Why seemed to have an almost total lack of! There was one thing I noticed though that “bugged” me…
(I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist!)
During one scene when Alyson and Tyler were in this shop, they had to walk around the isles looking for the locations as to where their memories would appear through their “Bond” and to view these memories, you had to ask the man behind the counter, Tom, to play some music that would trigger said memories. The song would play as you walked around the shop and I think there were three memories to view, but I only saw two. And if you spoke to Tyler after the music stopped (you were controlling Alyson at this point), he’d ask you to ask Tom to play the song again. So I obviously went to do that to which Tom was like.. “Yea, sure!” kind of thing…but the music never played?? I don’t know if that was a bug or I was meant to find all three memories the first time because no matter where I looked, I could NOT find that third memory!! I even closed the game and restarted it a few times which made no difference. And because I couldn’t find that third memory, I failed in getting information from someone involved. That was kind of annoying… Again, I don’t know if it was a bug or not, but it seemed like it could have been since, when asked, the song never played again.
But aside from the one moment, very much so bug free.
It also felt like there was a massive improvement on the graphics. Not to say the graphics in their previous games weren’t good; I especially loved the graphics in Life is Strange 2, but the overall look of the environment in Tell Me Why was very beautiful. The snow and the water effects…also the look of the twins house and their bedroom had a very “homey” feel with drawings Alyson and Tyler had done, their little play nook near the stairs, even their old bedroom…it was a very comfortable feeling and reminded me a lot of when you’d spend time in Chloe’s room in Life is Strange.
I feel very bad though that I can’t remember much of the soundtrack…
I don’t know if it was because I was so invested in the story that I just maybe didn’t notice but, again to compare to Life is Strange, the music in those games has always been so amazing and memorable to me. Even when playing the game, I was always aware of it, but for some reason, I just don’t remember even hearing music when playing the first episode of Tell Me Why which is a shame. So I’m going to remember to pay closer attention in the second episode! And of course this is the type of game you can play multiple times as there are various endings, so I’ll go back to the first episode at some point and I’ll make sure to listen then!
Overall, I thought this was a very strong episode and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
It had plenty of drama and even a bit of suspense. I also already absolutely love Alyson and Tyler! They are two great characters; on their own and as a pair and I can’t wait to find out where this story takes them.
Also the fact that DONTNOD has managed to release the episodes only a week apart is a brilliant touch on their part! I never minded waiting for the release during Life is Strange 2…but it did get a bit much when the episodes were months apart and after a while, the excitement of waiting died down. But with a week between these episodes, the excitement, for me, will still be constant.
So I definitely cannot wait for the next episode! ..I feel like it’s going to be a good one!
If there is one thing I would like to see more of, it would be to see more of the Tlingit culture. It’s heavily featured in the game, but I feel like the first episode only lightly touched on it. So for future episodes, I’d like to see more of it explored as it seemed very interesting. I mean, the general area the twins found themselves in had a very Tlingit look to it, like the outside of the shop I mentioned earlier and obviously there were Tlingit people. But a bit more of an in depth look into the culture, I think, would be very, very cool.
To anyone who has previously played the Life is Strange games, I see no reason as to why you wouldn’t enjoy this! DONTNOD are very constant at telling great stories. And for people who haven’t played Life is Strange before, I would still recommend this game. It’s an adventure game with great characters and an already promising story that looks like it will only get better!
Definitely worth your time.
Tell Me Why Episode 1 Overall Score:
It was just the overlapping dialogue that seemed to cause me to miss the chance to make choices that affected the twins bond that bothered me. Also the scene that seemed like it possibly bugged out (??) and also the lack of memorable music was also a bit bothersome.
But hardly anything that really affected my overall enjoyment.
So I would still highly recommend Tell Me Why.
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Thank you to all who read my first game review!
I’ve done game reviews on previous blogs before, apart from I would go far too in depth that it would sometimes take me days to write my reviews; I literally wrote about the entire game from start to finish.
So I wanted to improve on that this time by sectioning my reviews.
So having an Introduction, Brief Synopsis of the game, my thoughts and opinions and then ending the review with a few comments, which seems like a much more effective way of doing it. Plus this way, there are less spoilers since I’m not talking about every single little thing that happened 😅
So, once again, thank you for reading!
If there is anything you felt I missed out or anything else you feel like it would be necessary to include, please let me know in the comments! I want to try and make these reviews as good as I possibly can!
I hope you enjoyed my first review on this blog!
Have a great day and I’ll see you on my blog again soon 🙂
Sarah Alyze 🌸