Time waits for no one, but occasionally, it does get stuck in a loop. So goes the premise of Alt-Frequencies, a new audio mystery in which players skim radio stations to uncover a government conspiracy.
Alt-Frequencies is the latest game from Accidental Queens, creator of A Normal Lost Phone and Another Lost Phone: Laura’s Story. Its latest tale — available now for mobile and PC — posits that our lives may be stuck in a never-ending time loop initiated by government officials. We just don’t know it yet. In order to expose the truth, players listen to different radio broadcasts, record relevant information, and send it back into the airwaves.
It’s an interesting idea executed simply: swiping left or right will allow you to browse different radio stations, while you can record any audio clip you want and send it off by swiping down then up, respectively. The key to moving forward is to identify which clips expose information, and which radio station is best suited to broadcast it. Each day loops endlessly until you move forward, though mercifully you can speed past broadcasts with quick taps. The key is to get to know the personality of each station and its broadcaster, as well as their motivations.
It’s a conceit that succeeds because Alt-Frequencies’ characters are rich in color. You only hear, never see, each broadcaster, but their personalities leap off the screen. Whether it’s the opinionated shock jock who can’t stop pissing people off or a pair of radical college students hell-bent on social change, each station feels like one you could stumble onto on your drive home.
Despite its sci-fi hook, Alt-Frequencies is a painfully relevant story. It paints a troubling, sometimes true-to-life picture of how misinformation spreads, even when the facts exist just a few knob turns away. Major platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter are still grappling with radicalization and dangerous conspiracy theorists. Escaping forced time travel is the least of our worries. Faced with our reality, however, it feels like a quaint, even comforting alternative.
Alt-Frequencies is available via iOS, Google Play, and Steam.