Life Is Strange: True Colors is filled with phenomenal characters, but few are quite as memorable as Steph Gingrich, the dungeon-master DJ of Haven Springs. While there’s plenty of great Steph moments in the main game, the new Wavelengths DLC helps dig deeper into an already fascinating character and helps flesh out two different Life Is Strange games.
Wavelengths picks up one year before the events of Life is Strange: True Colors, with Steph’s first day as the new radio DJ of Haven Springs – a job Gabe helped her lie her way into. The formula of the DLC is simple, essentially, you’ll play through four different seasons as Steph in the record store, with the overall length clocking in at a little longer than one of the main game’s episodes.
The majority of each season consists of playing as Steph from a first-person perspective in the radio booth, as she has to read ads, answer listener’s calls, and generally make sure the show runs correctly. Steph can also step out of the booth and complete various tasks around the record store, as well as interact with various objects that trigger memories.
“Life Is Strange: True Colors is filled with phenomenal characters, but few are quite as memorable as Steph Gingrich, the dungeon-master DJ of Haven Springs.“
Interestingly, Wavelengths doesn’t just serve as a prequel to Life is Strange: True Colors, but also a bit of an epilogue to Life Is Strange: Before the Storm. At times, memories from Arcadia Bay pop up, and Steph’s best friend Mikey plays a major, and surprisingly heartfelt, role in the story. It’s also interesting to see this story tackle Steph trying to deal with the lasting trauma of what happened in Arcadia Bay.
What’s most interesting about Wavelengths, however, is that there’s no drama, supernatural twists, or major decisions to make. It’s an entirely introspective experience that gives you more context into Steph’s character and her role in Haven Springs, and I absolutely adore that. The record store setting is intentionally limited, but it shows a unique window into Steph’s life as she feels more secluded in Haven Springs, especially being basically the only queer person in town.
Springboarding off that, Wavelengths has another way of expanding on Steph’s struggle of being queer in Haven Springs, through a fictional dating app. In each season, you can use the dating app and do the classic “swipe right, swipe left” experience. Occasionally, you’ll match with a profile and have a conversation, with some limited choices. Wavelengths is absurdly on point with how the dating app experience goes. As a queer man, I have some experience with dating apps, and I found my own personal tendencies starting to play into my decisions on how Steph interacted with others on the app. Seeing how some of the app conversations played out across the months is especially fun.
Despite the monotony of playing through four days in just the record store, I couldn’t put Wavelengths down. The writing quality is just as top-notch as the main game, and even though I have a personal attachment to Steph, I honestly think you can go in blind on Wavelengths and still have a good time. It’s a queer story through and through, but one that dives so much deeper into Steph’s character than just the fact she’s queer. I have a hard time imagining a better send-off to such a phenomenal character.