Lifeline: Beside You In Time Will Make You Cry (Game Review)

The newest game in the Lifeline series is already here, and it's incredible. Here's my review of LifeLine: Beside You In Time!

Lifeline: Beside You In Time Will Make You Cry (Game Review)
Image: Lifeline.

The first time I played a Lifeline game was in 2015. I had just started working as a QA Engineer in a small startup that built video games for clients. The funny thing was that everybody loved it. This little game was on every one of my friends' lips. It was like playing an RPG but on a smaller scale - and I LOVE RPGs.

And last weekend, seven years after the first Lifeline game, Lifeline: Beside You In Time, was released. This game is the fourth sequel to the original Lifeline game. It is preceded by 'Halfway to Infinity' and 'Silent Night'. If it's your first time playing a text adventure, then some explaining is required: An astronaut stranded in space needs your help to survive. This time there are two of them - you help them by making choices. Sometimes you'll fail, and they die, but if not, you advance the story.

If you want a spoiler-free review, here's mine. In the next section, I'll dive deeper to talk about the game with spoilers. You'll have a callout before we dive into that section.

Lifeline: Beside You In Time Spoiler Free Review

There are a few things I loved about this game that I can say without spoilers:

  1. The animation of the chat looks better than ever. Chat messages flow quickly enough, and the choices you are faced with appear great on the screen.
  2. The ambient music of this game is haunting, as it should be. The game happens in a pretty terrifying place.
  3. The writing is SO GOOD. The game caters to both returning and entirely new players of the series. That means you don't have to play the previous ones, but I highly recommend you do. For those returning players, there are some exciting easter eggs we'll discuss below in the spoiler section.
  4. The game makes you think. Things that sound logical on earth don't work the same in space. That's all I'm saying in this section. But be aware that mistakes could cost you the astronauts' lives.

And with that cheerful thought, let's move on to the next section!

Beyond this point, this article contains spoilers about the game! If you don't want your story spoiled, you should stop reading now.

Easter Eggs I've Noticed In The Game

  1. Within the first 2 minutes of the game, you could assert your knowledge of a different HelpBot - an easter egg for Lifeline: Crisis Line.
  2. You could also assert your knowledge of the Taylors in the first question.
  3. Arika Lanphear's (Lifeline 2) father is mentioned in this game.
  4. Talking more to T2 sheds more light on the situation, and we realize that T2 is more similar to Wynn than we previously thought. T2 is not just a controlled drone of Taylor from a different universe.
  5. Is there anything more I missed? Comment below, and I'll add it to the list!

HelpBot's Betrayal

The twist with Helpbot caught me really off guard. The funny thing is that HelpBot was already free to do as it chooses, so that earlier choice to help its updates seems meaningless, but I still want to go back and try not to allow it and see how that turns out for me.

I predict that HelpBot would still do what it wants. It would just be meaner to you because you didn't want to help it.

T2's Sacrifice

When the relationship between the Taylors started warming up, I had a feeling this would end with T2's death. It's the classic kill your darlings trope in writing. And it works every time. Is anyone out there who loved the Starks from Game of Thrones and wasn't mad about the Red Wedding? (no spoiler warnings for this one; you had a decade to catch up).

I'm still thinking whether it could have been avoided in any way, but it's the one choice in the game that I don't think could be changed, as all successful paths would end with trying to leave the space station. And T2's death usually happens on your way there.

Halliday's Disappearance

After stabbing T2 to death, Halliday disappears. We don't know where he is, but he might have escaped. And you know what? He probably did - with Taylor. Yes, it's my official suspicion that Halliday is on the ship with Taylor, and we will hear more about him in the next game. The difference is that Halliday is piloting a dead body - no redemption arc for this guy.

What do you think?

I'll update this post with more thoughts as I replay and discover more things. What were your experiences playing Beside You In Time? Comment below, and let's nerd it out! :)

Lifeline: Beside You In Time is available on the Apple App Store and Android Play Store.