Review Xbox Game Pass

Review – Tell Me Why

Tell Me Why is the next adventure from the talented narrative experts at Dontnod Entertainment and published by Microsoft Studios, making this an Xbox exclusive. Tell Me Why follows very closely to the same footsteps of their previous Life Is Strange titles, where the game focuses on a relationship between two major characters, involves a supernatural presence, has the player making choices that shape the story and how its well-crafted support characters view the player. While having its similarities, Tell Me Why is a stand on its own title; coming in three chapters compared to five and has the player taking on the role of two characters rather than one.

Set in the fictional small town of Delos Crossing Alaska, twins Alyson and Tyler Ronan are reunited after 10 years and since the tragic death of their mother at the hand of one of the twins in self-defence. A lot has happened in the last 10 years, with Alyson being adopted by the town’s local sheriff, who led the investigation into her mother’s death. And Tyler, a transgender male, who now returns to Delos Crossing and not just to the judgemental eyes with the knowledge of what happened to his mother but also the problematic tropes that can arise in a small town community revolving around the ‘less educated’ views from some townsfolk.

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While Tyler’s transition plays its part, Dontnod point out that it is not the heart of the story. This game focuses on the relationship, connection and heartfelt reunion between Alyson and Tyler, and their journey to discover the truth about their past and what truly happened to their mother. In saying this, the developers have asked us to assure that “Tyler’s mother does not try to harm him because he’s trans and that Tyler did not transition as a result of trauma”.If players wish to know more on this topic, more information on this and other issues can be found at

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The story begins with the twins reuniting and returning to their childhood house to pack up to sell, so they can both move on and out of Delos Crossing. It does not take long for the twins to recall that they have unique gifts. The first is being able to speak to each other telepathically, with this becoming very useful when interviewing support characters and wanting to cross reference them. The other ability is to relive and interact with memories, portrayed as a sort of sixth sense. At times, these memories are not the same for each of the twins and the player will have to play out both memories and make a decision on which one they believe is the truth. Hints from interactive objects not just flesh out the world but will help the player make their choices. Interaction with the support characters can also influence the player’s choice. While these choices are not black and white, they will shape the story, relationships and outcome of the game. Players will use both these abilities throughout the narrative to work out the mysteries of their mother’s life, death and everyone who had a relationship with her.

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If players have played any of the Life is Strange games, they will recognise the narrative adventure gameplay. Players take control of either Alyson or Tyler to move around certain areas and interact with objects that fill out Delos Crossing, its residents, their lives and the twins themselves. Much of the objectives for the twins involve either interactions or object collection to move the mystery forward. There are also light puzzles for the player to solve. These puzzles generally have the player interacting with a book full of stories called ‘The Book of Goblins’ which was created by the twins and their mother. This book holds many answers to the games questions and if players choose to soak up the full experience, they will know The Book of Goblins back to front.

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Interaction of non-playable support characters is a major aspect of gameplay. Each of these characters is well fleshed out, have meaningful backgrounds and at times even take the main focus off the twins. The player’s choices in conversations will determine how the story may unfold and how these characters interact with you later on in the story. The game also brings a variety of interesting characters, such as several indigenous Tlingit characters and the game features exploration of Tlingit culture to expand on this.

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Tell Me Why and its Alaskan backdrop is visually striking and is easily the finest looking Dontnod titles to date. While the character models are good and animations are an improvement over past titles, there were times that the characters expressions looked a little jarring and did not fit a reaction they depicted. The music and sound design is top of its class and the score fits scene perfectly and dramatically when needed. The voice acting is arguable Dontnod’s best, with once again, the supporting cast being the standouts with their performances.

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Tell Me Why tells a very mature story and includes relationship options, scary scenes and prejudice that can be too much for younger gamers. Mature audiences will benefit when approaching this with an open mind. The game can be paused at any time and it is safe to say that this is a single player only affair.

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The game clocks in-between 8 and 9 hours depending on player’s level of exploration and choices. Even though major spoilers are realised after the first playthrough, players can go through the chapters again making different choices to experience the different reactions and outcomes.


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Pottsy for One More Game

Tell Me Why was reviewed on an Xbox One X and is available on the Xbox Store and Game Pass from today.
The developer and Xbox ANZ provided code for this review. Our thoughts on this game are ours and ours alone.

1 Comment

  • Adam Potts January 7, 2021

    Visitor Rating: 3 Stars

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