What is Life is Strange: True Colors and why should you play it?

Fans and critics are singing the new game’s praises, but if you’re new to the series, you may be wondering what the fuss is all about! Let us explain…
By Duncan Heaney

Life is Strange: True Colors is out now!

This new entry in the narrative adventure series is an all-new, self-contained story that focuses on Alex Chen - a young woman with a mysterious power, on the search for answers in the seeming idyllic town on Haven Springs.

It’s already proving a resounding success with critics and fans alike, but what about those of you who are yet to dip your toe into the series for the first time? What should you expect from the game, and why is it such a special experience?

Read on and we’ll explain all:

Alex Chen and her brother Gabe Chen standing by some stairs in a rustic bar

1. You forge your own story

What is life if not a series of decisions? What shoes should I wear today (the grey ones), what should I have for lunch? (salad or sandwich), should I play Life is Strange: True Colors after reading this (yes, obviously)?

In Life is Strange: True Colors you’ll constantly be faced with interesting choices to make. Some are large and dramatic, others so small that you may not even notice you’re making them.

Alex Chen standing in an apartment and staring at her hand

Regardless of what you do, the actions you take and the decisions you make can greatly affect both the story and the way characters interact with you. Even if something you do doesn’t seem to have much of an impact in the moment, the effects can ripple down to affect future events in ways you don’t expect.

So, remember decisions have consequences in Life is Strange: True Colors - but just as in life, there are no wrong choices. Just choices.

A woman in a beanie stands with her back to the camera surrounded by a blue aura

2. You can play with an amazing - but volatile - power

Alex Chen has an amazing secret. She has the unique ability to ‘see’ people’s emotions as colored auras, and even interact with them directly.

This psychic power of Empathy adds all kinds of fascinating gameplay opportunities. Alex can utilize the power in different ways, depending on the subject and situation. For example, if a character is hiding secrets, or holding something back, Alex can reach into their feelings and use this unspoken information in conversation, helping to get them to trust her.

A blue aura explodes from a woman in a beanie while Alex Chen reaches her hand towards her

Alternatively, the emotional aura may be so strong that it transforms Alex’s perception of the world around her. She can then explore this altered environment and search for ‘emotional insights’ that shed more light on what the character has been going through, and what lies at the root of this turbulent emotional state.

There are other ways to use the power too - Game Designer Christopher Sica walked us through these in more detail on the blog. Read it here:

The characters of Ryan Lucan, Alex Chen and Gabe Chen look straight ahead with expressions of surprise.

3. The characters are interesting, relatable, and believable

Videogame characters tend to be larger than life. We’re used to dealing with the likes of giant sword-swinging soldiers, super-cyborgs, or unusually athletic archaeologists. In Life is Strange: True Colors, you’ll interact with something far rarer in games: normal people.

…except, there’s no such thing as a ‘normal’ person, is there? Everyone is unique, and that’s something the game really drives home. The residents of Haven Springs come from all walks of life, but each one is richly defined, each with their own personalities, passions, and character arcs.

A young woman in a brown apron stands in front of wall-mounted floral displays

As Alex, you’ll get to know them inside and out. You’ll explore their successes and failures, fears and frustrations, and in doing so gain an intimate knowledge of what makes them… them.

As a result, you’ll discover – and become part of! - one of most memorable groups of characters you’ll encounter in a game this year.

A main shopping street in Haven Springs. A visible sign reads Rocky Mountain Record Traders.

4. The town of Haven Springs begs to be explored

It’s a cliché to say you’ll think of the world of a game is almost a character in itself… so we won’t. Even though it’s completely true.

Instead, we’ll say this - the Haven Springs is a beautifully realized, fully-formed town full of amazing things to discover. While previous games in the series guided you from place to place as the plot demanded, Life is Strange: True Colors lets you really soak in this picturesque Colorado mountain town.

A bridge adorned with flowers

You can take your time wandering the high street, check in with friends and acquaintances throughout the game, and really luxuriate in your surroundings. It gives Haven Springs a palpable sense of place that’s quite unlike anything else in the series. You’ll almost want to move there yourself!

Of course, all towns have their dark side…

Alex Chen staring straight forward with a look of concern on her face

5. You’ll uncover a compelling mystery

We’re stepping into very mild spoiler territory here, so if you want to play the game completely blind, avert thine eyes.

Alex Chen enters the town of Haven Springs to reunite with her brother Gabe. But tragedy strikes when Gabe dies. It’s seemingly an accident, but Alex isn’t convinced, and she starts peeling away the layers of secrets in Haven Springs to get to the truth.

That’s the central mystery that drives the story in Life is Strange: True Colors, and it’s brilliantly constructed, with revelations and surprises that will change the way you think about the town and its inhabitants.

Alex Chen playing the guitar against a dark background

6. You’ll hear one of the best soundtracks in gaming

The Life is Strange series is known for its amazing soundtracks, and True Colors is no exception. The game features brand new original songs by some of the hottest artists out there, including Novo Armor, Angus & Julia Stone, and more.

They sit alongside a wider playlist of amazing tunes, including tracks by Kings of Leon, Phoebe Bridgers, Mura Masa, Gabrielle Aplin, and many others.

Of course, we’d be remiss not to mention the incredible mxmtoon, who has not only produced new original music for the game, but also performs as the singing voice of Alex Chen. You may have heard her cover of Creep - it’s something special.

mxmtoon - creep (official audio)

You can also check out Angus & Julia Stone’s full soundtrack album on YouTube, along with an exclusive acoustic performance.

Angus & Julia Stone on YouTube

The soundtrack is available now on Spotify so take a listen:

And don’t forget to check out the Lo-Fi is Strange: True Colors playlist of unique remixes!

7. You’ll get the whole experience

Previous Life is Strange stories have been released episodically, but things are a little different this time. Life is Strange: True Colors includes the full story from beginning to end.

Want to experience the entire game as a single continuous experience? That’s entirely possible. Alternatively, if you’d rather take a break between chapters to let the characters and themes rattle around in your head for a while, you can do that too.

It’s entirely your decision on how you want to play it - and what could be more Life is Strange than that?

Life is Strange: True Colors is available now for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Windows Store, Stadia, GeForce NOW, and PC Steam, and is coming to Nintendo Switch later this year.

For more news about the Life is Strange series, including the upcoming Life is Strange Remastered Collection, make sure you follow the team on social media: