Lifeline is a text-based story game in which the player interacts via their computer or mobile device with a stranded astronaut millions of miles away from Earth. When the player opens the game, they receive a “transmission” on their phone from a person named Taylor, a science student who was aboard a ship called the Varia that crashed mysteriously on Tau Ceti IV, a desolate moon. Taylor will send you messages and occasionally ask for your advice on how to proceed. The player will then be presented with two buttons that contain different directions to give Taylor. By clicking on a button, the player transmits this message to Taylor and they will follow whatever directions they have been given. This can lead to more story and more choices to be made or can lead to a lost transmission, meaning that Taylor did not survive the results of the choice that was made. If this happens, the player can always go back and “rewind” the story to change their previous choice or go back even further if they feel the error was made further back in the story. They can then continue to play the game and receive messages from Taylor using the new direction.
Occasionally, Taylor will need to perform a task that takes a longer period of time, like exploring an area or resting for the evening. In these circumstances, the player will be alerted that “Taylor is busy.” This lets the player know that there won’t be anymore story for awhile and that they can close the game. If push notifications are enabled on your device, when Taylor finishes their task they will send you another “transmission” which will show up on your phone as a push notification. This lets the player know that the story is ready to proceed.
Lifeline is available on iOS, Android, and Steam. Please note that while iOS rates this game as 9+, the Google Store lists is as a 13+ game. Parents should use their own judgment when choosing whether to purchase this game for younger children.
When playing Lifeline, the player is actually playing themselves reacting to messages from a stranded astronaut. This means that they can practice self-awareness skills by paying attention to how they are feeling when interacting with Taylor and thinking about how they want to respond when they say they are feeling scared or uncertain or unsure about what decisions they need to make. The player can also practice self-awareness by imagining how they would react if they were in the same situation and reaching out for help from someone else.
Focus: Getting started and then maintaining attention and effort to tasks.
Lifeline is a text-based game so it requires a fair amount of reading, as this is the only way the player interacts with Taylor. There are no visuals and almost no sound cues in the game so the player needs to focus and pay attention to what Taylor is saying or asking, especially when it comes time to help them make decisions. Sometimes Taylor’s life hangs on the decisions you make and paying attention to what they are saying will help the player make the best possible decisions for them to survive.
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