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Review: Lifeline

If you're a fan of The Martian, this innovative text adventure will engross you

This innovative title makes clever use of push notifications as you converse via text with young astronaut Taylor, whose starship has crashed on a strange moon and who urgently needs your advice to survive.

Everything’s played out in real-time (well, kind of), so you often have to wait for him to do something. While your input is limited to a choice of two options at each juncture, every decision affects how the story plays out and, therefore, Taylor’s chances of survival. Often it’s just guesswork, although there is the odd moral dilemma – for instance, should Taylor risk sleeping by the ship’s burning reactor for warmth or in the cold lunar desert to avoid radiation?

It feels more like interactive fiction than a game, but it’s engrossing and you don’t want to leave poor Taylor hanging on your reply, even though he’ll wait indefinitely for it. One slight annoyance is that the in-game text is quite small with no option to enlarge it. We’d also advise selecting clustered notifications if you don’t want your panel flooded with them!