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Video Game / Lifeline

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For other works titled Lifeline, see the disambiguation page.

"Hello? Is this thing working? Can anyone read me?"

Lifeline is a series of mobile games for iOS and Android, published by Three Minute Games. The series format is essentially that of interactive fiction, with multiple dialogue options and branching story paths and endings. Rather than directly playing the protagonist, however, you take the role of a random schmuck who's intercepted someone's transmission, and now have to offer them advice and try to guide them through dangerous situations.

The series is also unusual in that the stories play out in real time. While the character you're in contact with is asleep or unconscious or otherwise busy with a task, you will have to wait it out for minutes or even hours until you hear from them again. While you do have the option of fast-forwarding past these once you've completed a story path in each game, it greatly helps with the immersion into the story, and the suspension of disbelief that there's a real person on the other end of your phone or other mobile device.


There are currently seven playable games in the series, the last of which was released in 2016. While an eighth title, Whiteout 2, was released in 2017, it was only available in the now-defunct Lifeline Library and Lifeline Universe apps which have since been removed from mobile stores.

  • The original Lifeline, in which you help Cadet Taylor, a student who won a lottery to travel aboard the spaceship Varia, after they get stranded on a seemingly deserted moon.
    • The original game now contains the short story "Viridian Actual", which puts you in touch with Wing Commander Melanie Chior, who is sent to investigate the moon Taylor was stranded on. It doesn't end well. "Viridian Actual" links Lifeline to Silent Night.
  • Lifeline 2: Bloodline, in which a malfunctioning spell puts you in contact with a very cranky young mage named Arika, who was trying to contact her missing brother, but supposes you'll have to do...
  • Lifeline: Silent Night, a direct sequel to the original, in which you reunite with Taylor as they find they're not quite as rescued as they thought they were...
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  • Lifeline: Whiteout, in which someone who presumes his name is "V. Adams" fights his way across a snowy wasteland while trying to remember who he is.
  • Lifeline: Crisis Line, in which you are part of a mental health social networking app and where you try to help a homicide detective solve the death of a lawyer and the green-eyed woman who attacked him at the scene.
  • Lifeline: Flatline, in which you have a direct link to the mind of Wynn, who is infected, but has an implant to keep her Green at bay.
  • Lifeline: Halfway to Infinity, which continues the story of Taylor after the events of Silent Night, and their attempt to escape orbit around a black hole with what may or may not be their future self.

Not to be confused with the Playstation 2 video game Operator's Side, which was also titled Lifeline in North America.

The Lifeline series provides examples of:

    open/close all folders 

    In general 
  • Aliens Are Bastards: It's bad enough that the Greens randomly pull in ships, crash them on the surface of their moon, and possess everyone they can get near. But apparently they also decided to taunt their enemies when they weren't screaming or hypnotizing them.
  • Body Horror: The Greens' victims, and Leila Grace in the second game.
  • Buffy Speak: Taylor and Arika both indulge in this.
    Taylor: Give me a minute, I'm gonna beep-boop the beep-boop buttons.
    [Taylor is beep-booping]
  • Deadpan Snarker: Taylor, Arika, Alex and (to a slightly lesser extent) Mel.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Any creature possessed by the Greens has glowing green eyes.
    • The primary antagonist of Crisis Line, the Green-Eyed Woman, has these.
  • Golden Ending: One for each game:
    • Lifeline: Taylor is rescued by the White Star right before the aliens infect them. If you put Captain Aya in the stasis pod at the beginning you can achieve the best possible ending in which Aya is saved as well.
    • Lifeline 2: Arika kills the Greens and reunites with her brother.
    • Silent Night: Taylor is rescued by a mysterious figure as they pilot a ship of infected marines into a black hole.
    • Whiteout: Adams destroys ALT's robot production facility and escapes to freedom, with Blue by his side.
    • Crisis Line: Alex successfully gets Rod Ross to confess. However, this can also be conflated with Downer Ending as the Green-Eyed Woman and her henchman show up and shoot Alex after realizing he is no longer useful after solving Jason Leder's murder. Nonetheless, Help Bot only says that Alex was shot, not that he was killed.
    • Halfway to Infinity: Taylor manages to rescue Mari, but sacrifices themselves to get rid of T2.
  • Mind-Control Eyes: The Greens' victims.
  • Multiple Endings
  • Our Zombies Are Different: ...because they’re actually green-eyed aliens that can hypnotize and/or possess people, including corpses. And they have really good tech.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: The Greens/Occupiers, the main antagonists across all of the games barring Whiteout.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: You!

  • Ambiguous Gender: Taylor's gender and appearance are never actually revealed - they spend the whole game communicating via text, and it never comes up. To be fair, they have bigger things to worry about.
  • Foreboding Architecture: The peak, described as glowing at some points. It seems to take a disproportionately long time to reach it, and once you do it has a completely smooth surface and a human-sized entrance in it. Yeah. That’s not creepy at all.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Taylor.
  • Genre Savvy: Taylor will frequently comment on how stupid their actions would be in a horror movie, before going ahead and doing them anyway.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: One of Taylor’s rescuers stops them from completing their alien-hypnosis-induced rant by punching them in the face during the path to the best ending.
  • Hell Is That Noise: The alien-possessed rats and astronauts won't stop screaming.
  • The Metric System Is Here to Stay: Much to Taylor's eternal frustration.
  • Nuke 'em: What Taylor fervently hopes will happen to the alien-infested moon.
  • Robinsonade
  • Saharan Shipwreck: The Varia crashes on a seemingly deserted moon. It's not the only one.
  • Wham Line: They get in through the mouth.

    "Viridian Actual" 
  • Agent Scully: Warn Mel about the aliens all you like, she refuses to believe you until it's too late.
  • The Cassandra: You, if you try to warn Mel.
  • Controllable Helplessness: Either of the two endings, but especially the one where Mel tries to run back to her ship and ends up horribly injured and watching the Greens creep closer and closer. You can still talk to her, but she's not going to be able to do anything about it.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: You can't save Mel or the marines, no matter how hard you try.
  • Genius Bonus: The marines are named Melanie "Mel" Chior, Balthazar de Ley, and Caspar Cruciger. Melchior, Balthazar and Caspar were the names of the three wise men from the Biblical Christmas story - fitting, considering they next appear in "Silent Night".
    • And then, of course, there's the fact that their ship is named the Viridian. Say, what colour is viridian a shade of again...?
  • Mauve Shirt: You get to be on pretty friendly terms with Mel, and find out some of her backstory, before she's inevitably infected by the Greens.
  • Sequel Hook: Leads directly into Silent Night.

    Lifeline 2: Bloodline 
  • Blood Magic: The Lanphear family's chosen style.
  • Creepy Child: Leila Grace.
  • Exact Words: The old woman who sold Arika the Fabula Dagger never actually said it would help her contact her brother like she wanted - only that it would let her contact "the person she most needed to contact". Namely, you.
  • Fire Purifies: Certainly in Arika's opinion.
    Arika: If I can't have back the New Tenacity of my childhood... then I'll salt the earth so nothing — especially nothing Green — can ever take root here again.
  • Fission Mailed: Played with. When gambling for the lamp, Arika can fail, yet she'll continue to the next destination. As long as the other two items were acquired, Arika is prevented from failing in her quest.
  • Hidden Elf Village: New Tenacity - before being overrun by the Greens, anyway.
  • Innocuously Important Episode: At first blush, the game seems to have little to do with the original Lifeline despite sharing a name - it's on Earth, in (presumably) The Present Day, and revolves around magic instead of science. And then the Greens show up.
  • Kill It with Fire: How the Greens meet their richly-deserved fate.
  • Orphanage of Fear: Floodland was this even before it was abandoned and left to the tender care of a creepy magic orphan girl.
  • Snark Knight: Arika somehow manages to be even more snarky than Taylor.

    Lifeline: Silent Night 
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Dialogue you can get from Taylor.
    Taylor: By the time I realized I wasn’t alone out there, there were about a thousand other things happening... a graveyard of derelict ships, a bank of computer controls inside a mountain... a pulse weapon that was shooting targets out of space and time... and, worst of all, I was down to my last packet or chili macaroni...
  • Bottle Episode: Unlike the original, which had Taylor traipsing all over the deserted moon, and Bloodline, where Arika trekked across much of the Pacific Northwest, Silent Night is largely confined to the mining ship White Star.
  • Les Collaborateurs: The ship's doctor, who may or may not be infected, but either way is helping the Greens.
  • Escape from the Crazy Place: Three Green-infested marines board the ship that rescued Taylor, and now they have to find a way out (and take the Greens out at the same time).
  • Imperiled in Pregnancy: Mari confides in Taylor that she's pregnant, which makes saving her all the more important to them.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure: If you get Taylor infected, the game gravely informs you that the Greens are now charting a course for Earth...
  • Lemony Narrator: The system messages occasionally echo Taylor's snark, or provide commentary on their actions.
    [Taylor is running and singing (loudly and badly)]

    Lifeline: Whiteout 
  • Amnesiac Hero: V. Adams doesn't remember his own name or how he got lost in the snowy wastes, and gets the name "Adams" from a patch on his uniform.
  • Bittersweet Ending: In the good ending Adams and Blue escape and go on the run, but the two of you cease communication in fear of being tracked. Adams does say he feels the two of you will talk again, and that if you ever meet up for real, the drinks are on him.
  • Canine Companion: Blue the Siberian husky, who Adams rescues from starving in a cage, reciprocates his kindness tenfold.
  • Cloning Blues: Adams isn't actually a clone, but near enough as makes no odds.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: I. Adams may be crazy, but they really ARE tracking V. Adams through his teeth.
  • Grand Theft Me: What Sibellius wants to do to Adams.
  • Heroic Dog: Blue saves Adams' life almost as often as you do.
  • Immortality Seeker: Sibellius wants to achieve immortality not just for himself, but for all of humanity. Unfortunately his methods are questionable.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: Whiteout is the only game in Lifeline franchise that has no appearances of the Greens.
  • Quest for Identity: Waking up in the middle of nowhere? Check. No memory of who Adams is? Check. Trying to find out? Check and mate.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: Adams and his "brothers". They even bleed, eat and sleep.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Adams is an organic robot created by Dr Sibellius to serve as his new body - and you are part of an unwitting experiment to see if he can be socialised.
  • The Tooth Hurts: I. Adams pulled out all his teeth. With pliers. And when he finds out why, V. Adams can pull out one of his own teeth in the same way.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: At the end of the game, you must decide whether Adams is more of a human or more of a machine.

    Lifeline: Crisis Line 
  • The Alibi: Each of the five suspects presents one. Both Mia Westerman's and Rod Ross's have holes in them.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Jason Leder is revealed to be this. When Alex makes his initial round of interrogations, it seems anyone and everyone loved Jason. However, Rod Ross eventually reveals that Jason was a bully, a claim that is corroborated by Jason's wife Mia.
  • Blackmail: It's eventually revealed that Jason Leder was subject to this by his stepbrother Mike, who covered up a murder Jason committed when he was fifteen.
  • By-the-Book Cop: Alex can be this, if the player so chooses, but there are also options given where he can perform a bit of Artistic License – Law to trick some of his interrogees who aren't as well versed in law.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Like the protagonists before him, Detective Esposito spouts out quite a bit of snark.
  • Destroy the Evidence: Esposito does this prior to the events of the game, to cover up the fact that he shot the Green Eyed Woman at Leder's house.
  • Detective Drama: The game follows Detective Alex Esposito as he attempts to solve the murder of Jason Leder.
  • Did Not Die That Way: Alex has the option of softening the story of Jason's demise to his paralegal Rachael, or of telling her the truth.
  • Disposing of a Body: Done twice to Jason Leder. After Rod Ross clocks him in the head with the wrench, he tosses him off of Mount Bonnell, and it's his stepbrother Mike who dumps him in the swimming pool in which he's found at the beginning of the game.
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: Alex jokes about this.
  • Everyone Is a Suspect: Alex comes across five suspects throughout the game and asks the player routinely who they think is guilty. You have the option of arresting one of the five at the end of the game, though the golden ending is only reached if one chooses the actual killer, Rod Ross.
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: Alex has the option of being either during interrogations, notably while interrogating Rod Ross, whom he seems to naturally dislike.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Utilized when confronting Rod Ross, should the player so choose. If one manages to pin him, Ross will state that he never drove the body to the house and dump it in the pool. When Sergeant Wheeler spoke to the press about the crime, she never mentioned a swimming pool.
  • Incriminating Indifference: One of the points the player can bring up to Mia Westerman. It doesn't stick, since she's not the actual murderer, and she gets her lawyer instead of confessing.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Alex, in the golden ending where he arrests Rod Ross. However, Help Bot also goes on to mention that he's only been shot in the chest and left for dead, stating that he still needs the player's help, thus possibly averting the trope.
  • Meaningful Name: Alex's surname is Italian for "exposed." Rather fitting for a homicide detective trying to expose the truth behind a murder, one would think.
  • Off the Record: Played with when interrogating Claire Schuerenberg. She Invokes this when discrediting Mia's alibi, but Alex says to the player that the trope actually only applies to journalists and reporters, and not to the police.
  • Only Bad Guys Call Their Lawyers: Averted with Mia Westerman. She demands Jeff Sherwood as a lawyer, and isn't the one that murdered her husband. Rod Ross, the actual murderer, confesses under pressure.
  • Safecracking: Alex finds a safe on the floor of Jason Leder's office. Can be averted in that Alex has no idea what the code is, and if the player chooses not to input one, they safe can be completely passed over.
  • The Stakeout: Alex is given the choice of staking out Pearson Corp after visiting Leticia Garza.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Alex is noted to not be in the best mental state, which is why he resorted to the Help Text app in the first place, and outright states that he has depression. Some of the choices the player can make to goad him on aren't exactly the nicest, and Help Bot will occasionally chime in by assessing the player's "compassion rating."
  • Vomiting Cop: Alex tells the player that he vomited at the station after his first encounter with the Green-Eyed Woman. He also vomits after being returned home by the bird.

     Lifeline: Flatline 
  • Mythology Gag: When Wynn is trying to remember her name, the player can suggest "Taylor". However, she will reject the suggestion.

     Lifeline: Halfway to Infinity 
  • Bittersweet Ending: The best possible ending, in which Taylor saves Mari, but ends up dragging T2 with them into the black hole.
  • Broken Faceplate: Played for drama near the end of the game, when Taylor leaves the Viridian to save Mari. T2 leaves a helmet with a crack in it along with a taunting note for Taylor.
  • Future Me Scares Me: Taylor is a bit unnerved by T2, their future self. It turns out that Taylor was right about not trusting T2. T2 is infected by the Green.
  • Schrödinger's Cat: This is referenced by Taylor near the end of the game, when they explain why they believe that there's a chance that they can succeed in rescuing Mari and beating T2. According to Taylor, they would normally fail and start the time loop again, but since the player character counts as an outside observer, things might turn out differently this time around.
  • Stable Time Loop: A dark version applies to Taylor here. T2 is their Green-infected future self, who will eventually infect Taylor, who does the same to the next Taylor.

"Here's to a brighter future. This is Cadet Taylor, formerly of the Varia, signing off."


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