REVIEW | Acolyte

REVIEW | Acolyte

LifeisXbox’s Acolyte review | When I read ARG, two things spring to mind: one is the sound my late grandfather used to make when he was annoyed at something, and the other is the abbreviated term for Alternate Reality Game. We’ll be focussing on the latter for today. An ARG is when a game, movie, book or other media expands into another medium that may then be influenced by the players or fans. What often sets these games apart from the rest is their mysterious nature, and that it’s often a collaborative effort between people in your local area or spanning the globe. And they’ve been happening for a while now too! Portal had one that ended in the announcement of Portal 2. Oxenfree had one. Heck, even Fortnite did one for one of their updates. Now, I must admit, until now they didn’t seem like my cup of tea to get involved in. More something to admire from a distance to marvel at the smarts others put on display. They’ve actually become one of my favourite topics Game Theory videos cover. Well, aside from the Five Nights at Freddy’s ones at least.

So as Acolyte came up for review, I decided to finally give it a shot to try and solve the mystery Superstring so carefully crafted.

ℹ️ Reviewed on PC | Review code provided by Superstring, this review is the personal opinion of the writer.

What we Liked!

  • Sleuthing | Undeniably the highlight of Acolyte is the mystery you have to unravel about Ana and the strange incidents that surround her. To do this, you’ll have to get creative, think out of the box and leave no digital stone unturned. Scour the web for information after finding clues in-game, see a code in a video, you’ll probably need it. Found an encrypted text, try looking for a plausible cypher. Hope you’re not shy about digging into your live game files. I was hesitant about this at first yet you can safely do so. Honestly, the sky is the limit here. Check anywhere those sly foxes at Superstring might have squirrelled away some data. Just remember: you can solve all of this without the need to contact people you don’t know.
  • Graphics & Audio | I really like the effort Superstring put into Acolyte overall. In-game you’re met with a hand-drawn style and user interface styled after the mobile app it’s supposed to represent. You get the option to change your background, hairstyle, clothing and eyes. Your Acolyte will even comment if you give her a style she likes. Musically, Acolyte falls behind a tad, with mainly having a single, or very few, tracks permanently on loop. The futuristic track is alright at first, but after a while, it can get a bit samey. What pulls this up from the in-betweens is the fact that I really liked the way the out-of-application resources were designed. You’ll have to trust me on this one since any more would potentially spoil things.
  • Investigation tracker | As you go about scouring the corners of the web and app, you gather a lot of information that you then try to feed back to your Acolyte. Now luckily enough for us, and definitely for me, the investigation tracker exists. Unlocked fairly early on, this is where you neatly line it all up, sort out your leads, and view in brief whatever data Ana manages to find for you on the Nanomax servers. I found this to be an essential tool to play Acolyte, good enough not to get a corkboard, pins and a ball of red string on Dae Jim’s dime to piece it all together. 

Mixed Feelings

  • Strangely, there’s nothing I’m on the fence about here. 

What we Disliked

  • Not all that chatty | Have you ever gone onto the internet and looked for an AI chatbot? I know back in the early 2000s my friends and I used to talk to Cleverbot together for some laughs. I remember being very impressed even back then by the quality those AI had. Sadly, that’s not the case with your Acolyte. There are many times when I tried to ask a question, only to be answered by some old information I’d already heard a number of times before. This happened pretty much to the point where I knew I could just shoot keywords at her to see which ones stuck.
  • Buggy | As much as it saddens me to write this, yet on a couple of occasions did my Acolyte freeze to the point where I couldn’t interact with it anymore. Normally, I’d make a small note of this somewhere, but it happened a bit too often to let slide. Chiefly among them is that the first time it happened I was in a crucial moment in the story where I had to trigger a flag. As I did the thing and tabbed out of the game, upon tabbing in Acolyte had gone unresponsive to the point where I couldn’t close the game via the escape menu. So I shut it down the hard way, and upon rebooting I notice that the flag was unchecked, and my attempts to recheck it didn’t result in anything. In the end, clearing my save helped. Luckily that wasn’t too deep in, because retracing my steps was a rather tedious process.

How long to beat the story | 10 hours
How long to unlock all achievements | 13 hours


Acolyte feels like a great gateway into the ARG space for those who would wish to try it. With ample guidance that doesn’t feel like hand holding it offers challenging, but not insurmountable puzzles. The story also got me hooked fairly early on and really made me care about my Acolyte. That’s not to say it all went flawless, as I feel chatting with your Acolyte was often very on rails. Overall, a fun experience for those looking for mystery to solve.

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