Lifeline is an interactive text-based Space adventure built with different outcomes; a wrong answer could bring the mysterious astronaut directly into Death’s arms and interrupt the course of events sooner than anticipated.
Exchange texts with cadet Taylor and take part of a distant journey to salvation with life or death choices. Shape Taylor’s destiny and discover the terrifying secret hidden on a foreign planet in Tau Ceti where no ship seems to land without crashing against its surface.
The following overview is going to be spoiler-free. No important parts regarding the story and possible outcomes will be revealed.
Taylor’s gender was originally left open to interpretation, but it came to my attention that the Wiki page has been updated with a new information; the character apparently is male. I always thought about the astronaut as a HE myself, but I’ll still use “them” to describe the character in this article since I just finished Halfway to Infinity and haven’t seen any official statement about it anywhere, not even from the Twitter account. Feel free to comment if you have anything to link or clarify!
The story opens with a dark chat screen and a message from an astronaut who introduces themselves as Taylor, science student on Earth and former Varia Starship cadet. Taylor happens to be the only person coming out unharmed from the inexplicable crash, but they are left alone and in desperate need of guidance through the following journey.
You somehow are the only person they reach through space with the quantum tunneling communicator and the very hero destined to shape the final result and lead the stranger to their salvation (or death). All the conversations are translated in text form as Taylor speaks while your answers will deliver to them as standard written messages.
As soon as the game begins, Taylor interacts with you in real time sending detailed texts about their surroundings and requesting advice when it comes to specific decisions or problematics they need to face. What makes the experience sorta realistic is the way the astronaut talks to you; they often set their status on busy while exploring and come back online at different times during the day to keep you updated. However, no chat will be lost should you find yourself unable to open the game whenever a new notification pops up on the screen (unlike Mystic Messenger, where missed chats will generate a bad ending).
Taylor uses humor in different occasions throughout the story to cope with stress and fear, making the whole conversation much livelier despite the plot’s dramatic and dark-horror themes.
The narrative is spot on, well described and with literally no typos I can think of (which can be a common recurrence in some novels). There are no pictures nor voices in this case, the only sound a background music (a bit repetitive maybe, you can turn it off from the settings if you get tired of it) and breathing through a space helmet every now and then.
Taylor could die in at least four different ways if you’re not careful enough and advise them through one path instead of another. It shouldn’t be too hard for you to keep them alive until the final part, despite the dilemma you may encounter with a couple options.
Languages available: English, Deutsch, French, Japanese, Russian.
Lifeline: Silent Night
Silent Night is the direct sequel to Lifeline and continues Taylor’s journey in the Tau Ceti system. You can actually play a quick prequel in Lifeline itself, as soon as you bring Taylor to safety and successfully conclude the first chapter without mistakes. A new character named Mel will take the lead in the conversation, stating she knows about Taylor’s report and fails to believe anything they described.
This part will connect to the opening events of Silent Night, with Taylor safe and sound on a new ship and somewhat recovered from their traumatic experience on the planet. Unfortunately, the poor austronaut is about to prepare for a new struggle aboard the White Star and they will once again require your valued assistance through text communication.
This time the chat screen will be slighly different from the first one. New statuses for Taylor have been added and you will read bits of speeches with other characters interacting with them aboard the ship.
While in the previous title you could only see the two choice buttons on the screen and receive Taylor’s answer straight away, this time around your choice will generate an actual text adding in to the exchange. Silent Night also introduces a fast backward arrows icon next to your messages (though that should appear after your first negative outcome), so that you can easily repeat parts and change the ending without starting over or losing too much progress.
There only seems to be one safe route in this title, though. Screwing things up and sending Taylor off to death is much easier compared to the previous game.
In Silent Night you can find a lot of Pop Culture in Taylor’s dialogues and different hilarious moments. Be that as it may, at some point a particularly gory description will also appear in the convo, which could sound a bit disturbing if you are extremely sensitive when it comes to this genre.
Languages available: English, Deutsch, French, Japanese, Russian.
Lifeline: Halfway to Infinity
Halfway to Infinity is the third title narrating Taylor’s mishaps and it follows Silent Night straight away. The astronaut is once again forced to run for their life, but this time there aren’t many options left for them since they’ll be stuck into another spaceship set on fire.
The story continues in a very herratic way, but in this fight for survival Taylor will have an unespected company aboard and it won’t take you too long to figure out something is extremely off in their persona. Where is this second astronaut coming from and are they really who they claim to be?
One thing I particularly enjoyed in this title is the playlist Taylor can give you from a running computer, switching to a bunch of existing songs strongly connected to space. For example, the second track they name is The Commander Thinks Aloud by The Long Winters; a song written for the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster that took place on February 1st 2001. You will be able to choose whether or not to continue with the tracks in a top 20 list of sorts, I highly recommend to pick “yes” after each song and to also look them up as soon as Taylor names them for a better participation. The only downside is that this part of the game is most likely glitched, because some of the tracks appear twice or even three times and thus you get a repetition along with Taylor’s comments about them.
In Halfway to Infinity the role of Taylor’s Lifeline (aka you) will have a drastic impact over the space-time line. The best outcome is actually pretty open, but there’s no way for us to know what may happen next since no other games involving Taylor have been released so far.
Languages available: English, Deutsch, French, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, Italian.
The Lifeline series actually includes other titles featuring different protagonists, but it all seems to revolve around the same concept. The games are also known as The Green series and they include a total of 8 installments; Lifeline, Lifeline 2: Bloodline, Lifeline: Silent Night, Lifeline: Whiteout, Lifeline: Crisis Line, Lifeline: Flatline, Lifeline: Halfway to Infinity, Lifeline: Whiteout 2.
A fanmade voice acted version created by ThatManWithaMic can be found on YouTube, although he only created three videos in total and the project seems to be dropped out.
The Lifeline games can also be played on PC via Bluestacks, Nox Player or any other Android/Apple simulator program connected to a legit account for app purchases.