Home is an indie game proudly announcing itself as ‘a unique horror adventure.’ It’s a heavily pixelated side scroller which sees you waking up in a house with no idea how or why you are there, only with the terrible feeling that you need to get out. The unique selling point here is that the story is effectively told by you, the player.
The way this works is everything seemingly takes place in a flashback form, for lack of a better term, with everything being past tense. If you see a knife, you’ll get a prompt saying “Did I take the knife?” to which you answer with a simple yes or no, with the ‘Y’ and ‘N’ keys respectively. Everything is handled in this manner, meaning on your first playthrough - which will take roughly an hour - there will be things you have missed, for example I found a videotape in my first playthrough, but never found anything to play it on to see the contents, which left me wondering and I’ll be actively searching for a VCR on my next run through. The game leaves the story (which I won’t spoil as it’s the main purpose of the games existence) entirely open to interpretation. The way I played made me think my character had more involvement in proceedings than he perhaps remembered, but if I had missed certain things I actually found I would have been none-the-wiser and I likely would have thought up an entirely different conclusion.
The beauty of it is I’m still not sure if I’m right in what I think happened. I know there are clues I missed, as towards the end I was in a frantic hurry to the end to see what happened, but after the rather abrupt text-ending, I was left with an urge to restart right there to find more clues and make full use of ones I had found before. It’s essentially a ‘Choose your own Adventure’ book, but in game form, leaving how much the main character, and yourself, know by the end of the game..
It’s short, but for a very cheap price and the replay value is there. It won’t be quite as atmospheric on subsequent runs - an atmosphere very well created given the massive pixels that make up the games graphics - but there will be different pieces of the story to find to give you a better idea of the overall picture. It’s rare a game can try something like this and succeed, but Home manages it quite well, with simple items you may pass by in favour of more interesting ones actually giving you serious food for thought, even something as simple as a broken mirror can be seen in a different light with a certain train of thought.
The biggest downside to the game's short length is that you can’t quit and continue later on; you must finish it in one sitting or you will lose all progress and have to start over the next time you play. While this does make sure you never forget anything and it’s all fresh as you play, it is annoying if you have to quit for whatever reason and you have to restart from the very beginning.
Costing the princely sum of £1.99/€2.99/$2.99 on Steam, it’s cheap enough to give you value, even considering its very short length. The experience is there, then there’s the replay value for those that want to fully explore the games setting and story.
- Surprisingly creepy atmosphere
- Replay value is there for those who want to explore further
- Somewhat unique in execution
- Very short
- Sort of just... ends
- No save system