Yet another game for emotional people to lap up. I don’t see many movies able to make you sob in a record 70 minutes.
Gone Home is a first-person walk-em-up developed by the Fullbright Company. Set in the year 1995 in Portland, you play as Kaitlin, a young woman who has returned from a trip around Europe in the middle of the night to a completely deserted family home.
The gameplay consists entirely of exploring your dark foreboding family home. You have no idea where everyone is, or what has happened while you’ve been away – its just you, a bunch of personal belongings, a thunderstorm, and too many locked doors. The game uses this setting to manipulate your expectations of what is going to happen – is it a horror? Did I just see someone disappear around a corner? Why are there so many locked doors? The less you know going into Gone Home the better as it allows those first 20-30 minutes of discovery to be incredibly effective and tense.
But once you begin to piece together where this story may be going, it opens up into a truly genuine and touching story. I don’t want to get into too much of it due to the risk of spoiling the game, but know that the story you are going to discover is well worth the price of admission.
The design of the home is also worth mentioning as a positive. The most impressive aspect of it is that it feels real. I felt voyeristic and rummaging through people’s personal possessions made me feel surprisingly uncomfortable at times. In contrast to that however, there are sections of the house that are locked off or hidden away, which does make it feel a bit game-like and detracts from that feeling of authenticity a tad.
This game is cheap, takes a little over an hour to beat, and drags the player along through an emotional rollercoaster of a story. I see no reason why I shouldn’t recommend this. Disregarding the gamey environment design, this is still an experience well worth your time. And your tears.
Casual Gamers: Highly Recommended
Hardcore Gamers: Highly Recommended