Alt-Frequencies is an audio mystery puzzle game that has you clipping and sending cuts from the radio to flesh out the unfolding narrative one loop at a time. The time required to complete the story is short, but because it never feels like just another mobile game, it has a way of really drawing you in.
The game was developed and produced by some very talented designers behind titles like A Normal Lost Phone and Bury Me, My Love, two noteworthy indie games that also make inventive use of the smartphone for the sake of storytelling. I can't go into too much detail about Alt-Frequencies without spoiling key aspects that drive the narrative, but if you love compelling audio dramas this is definitely worth your time.
What I can say about Alt-Frequencies is that the voice acting is on point — and that's really important for any game that relies this heavily on keeping you engaged purely through narration and dialogue. There are occasionally five radio stations broadcasting concurrently so you're required to bounce around the dial listening for clues you might have missed the first time. I'll probably play through this game again just to take my time and listen through the channels that I didn't really focus on during my first playthrough.
As you might glean from the trailer above, the game has you scanning across the radio airwaves listening and sharing important news regarding an upcoming election over a controversial proposal by the government. You can submit clips you've recorded to another radio station in real time with the goal of interrupting their broadcast with important information that needs to be shared with the right audiences.
While the game is also available on PC or Mac, the controls are perfectly suited for playing on a phone. You swipe left or right to scan across the radio dial, tap to fast-forward through sections you've heard before, swipe down to record, and swipe up to send. There's a settings menu if you need to pause — which also offers a hints menu if you need some help figuring out which clips to focus in on.
The story does a great job of blurring fantastical elements with the all too real tensions that exist in our society today. Media nerds and fans of conspiracy theories should especially take note here, and I would love for this game to find an audience so that more stories can be developed in this format.
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SteelSeries Stratus Duo ($60 at Amazon)
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