Imagine crash landing on a strange planet, and surviving that ordeal only to be rescued by a ship that runs into its own ordeal out in space. That’s the fate of Taylor, the protagonist of the game Lifeline that has now seen its third installment with the new Lifeline Silent Night. Lifeline has defined Apple Watch gaming at this early stage by giving you interactive fiction that is presented in real time. Taylor sent you messages after crash landing in Lifeline, and then Lifeline 2 presented a brand new magical protagonist, but Taylor is back for Lifeline: Silent Night.
Lifeline: Silent Night takes place aboard the White Star, which is the ship that rescued Taylor in the original Lifeline making this a direct sequel, as compared to Lifeline 2’s all new storyline. The style has changed up in number three, and it’s essentially more of the same, but with a brand new storyline. Taylor sends you messages throughout the day that give you two choices, and those choices help dictate the path the story goes. Taylor will send messages in real time, and will be busy performing tasks based on your conversation, and will get back to you once they’re completed. You can respond right from the Apple Watch, but the game is fully playable even if you don’t have an Apple Watch, as you can respond from the iPhone lock screen. The third edition also features a new ship map allowing you to see where Taylor is at the moment.
The main question of Lifeline: Silent Night is whether or not the developers have gone to the well one too many times. One Button Travel was released by different developers a few weeks back, and suffered because of Lifeline’s existence. Lifeline: Silent Night does feel a bit repetitive if you have played the first two as there are similar story mechanics, dialogue sequences, and choices. With that said, Taylor is a compelling character, and the same author returns to create an all new compelling narrative that gets you to care enough to keep responding, and reading. The game’s pacing is the best benefit to extend the playtime over long stretches, so you’re not burnt out. The first time we saw Lifeline it was an outstanding new experience, and the third time around isn’t any worse, it just is simply a good continued experience. It’s also worth noting that if you do have an Apple Watch, there is a chance that the storyline on the iPhone and Apple Watch get out of sync, which has happened to me in Lifeline 2, and again in Lifeline: Silent Night.
Lifeline Silent Night ($2.99, Universal) continues the series with an all new compelling storyline that isn’t quite as engaging as the fresh approach of the original, but is still well worth picking up. The game does mention the original storyline at the outset, but it can also be a standalone experience.