Juggle life and death as astronaut Taylor’s only “Lifeline”

Chosen as the free app of the week in the Apple App Store, “Lifeline” is a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure game that puts players in a position of power as they dictate the actions of Taylor, an astronaut stranded on a distant moon. Developed by 3 Minute Games, the app relies on human instinct and judgment to determine the fate of the protagonist.

“Lifeline” introduces the context of the game by displaying an industrial, rugged interface that mimics a futuristic communication device. The immersive experience, however, does not stop at the aesthetics, but rather, extends to the vibrant, suspenseful story line.

The player first establishes communications with Taylor through the mobile device. He or she can then speak with Taylor by choosing between two options that will alter the course of the story. The dialogue is realistic in the sense that Taylor’s personality is constructed through his or her (Taylor’s gender is never specified) biting sarcasm and subtle haughtiness. Through this alone, “Lifeline” is not just a game, but instead, a vivid narrative that commands attention from its audience.

As Taylor treks through various obstacles and scenarios, the player is responsible for each action, whether it is as simple as replying to Taylor in either a sarcastic or polite manner, or as crucial as determining if Taylor will check the spaceship crash or head to the peak of a mountain.

Eventually, Taylor will embark on certain tasks that take a long period of time, sending a message to the interface saying “[Taylor is busy].” At this point, all there is to do is wait, which may take from a few minutes to a couple of hours. The wait times are realistic, as Taylor’s journey to the crash site takes approximately an hour: “Okay. I’m headed south now. Looks like the smoke is at least an hour away.”

After a specified period of time, Taylor will notify the player of his or her return and inquire about the next decision to be made. Turning on notifications is mandatory to play the game, as Taylor makes appearances every now and then and requires the player’s response to move forward in the story. At one point in time, I was growing impatient while waiting for Taylor to respond, as I was eager to learn what will happen to protagonist as he or she encounters a new danger.

Geared with a gripping storyline and simple gameplay, “Lifeline” is a keeper. Instead of compressing the content into a short time frame and encouraging players to play repeatedly and lose interest, the app strategically disperses the entertainment. Built as both a functional app and intriguing narrative, the game delivers an experience unmatched by those in the app store.

“Lifeline” is available in both the Apple and Android app stores. The app is free for the week for iOS users, but unfortunately, costs 99 cents for Android users. The app is also compatible with the Apple Watch, offering a more portable, seamless gameplay experience. However, this feature is not necessary to enjoy the game to its fullest potential.