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No Place Like Home Review

No Place Like Home Review

No Place Like Home is a farming game where you take on the life of Ellen, but unlike every other farming sim I've ever seen, the story doesn't take place in a small, friendly town community. Instead, you live on a trashed Earth that has been abandoned as all the humans left for Mars. This immediately caught my eye about No Place Like Home, since I absolutely love the idea of being able to rebuild life on Earth in a Fallout 4 meets My Time At Portia type of game. 

The game begins with a type of tutorial I had never experienced before, as it's a straight road and every explanation is given through a series of signs; it was easy enough to understand every section and what it was teaching. However, I found myself not remembering how or what to do once I was in the actual game and I suddenly understood why games hover over you and make you do everything at the relevant moments; learning through hands-on experience is definitely easier to retain information than just having everything explained to you and thrown into the game afterwards.

At this point, I had already found things I liked about the game, such as being able to pick up the items placed with just the click of a button, even if they were buildings. Once I got through the tutorial area, I found Ellen’s grandfather's farm abandoned and littered with rubbish, so I got to experience picking up the mess and gathering materials from it. I found this very fun as I've always been a fan of cleaning in games, such as in House Flipper.


Here at the farm is where we meet our very first NPC: Cornelius, a talking chicken. He starts off the questline of the story, which is basically to try and find out what happened to Ellen's grandpa, and every new person you meet tells you a little more information. However, one of the first things that caught my eye as I met them was that they were hidden away in mountains of rubbish. That, paired with the fact that they stand there night and day, breaks the immersion of the game, as it constantly reminded me that they are just NPCs. 

Speaking of the night and day cycle, this game doesn't demand you sleep at any point, unlike other farming sims where you pass out after a few hours. I expected this to happen, so when the minutes went on and I continued just sifting through the mountains of rubbish without any warning of needing sleep, I was caught aback. Especially because I had been recently complaining to my wife that in Graveyard Keeper it's sometimes a bit stressful that the NPCs are only available during certain times of the week, so I had to be careful. The sudden freedom of not having sleep hanging over my head was interesting, so I decided to just never sleep unless necessary (like having low health or when I wanted something to finish quickly). Once I did sleep though, I found out that the sleeping action itself is a bit... lacking. You go to the bed, click on it, and a screen pops up suddenly that says you slept with a button that says "wake up". As soon as you click it, the screen disappears just as abruptly as it arrived. 

This is when the Early Access feel started creeping in. I understand this game is an indie title, but it felt like everything was made in a bit of a rush. The sleeping action just offers that awkward screen, there are glitches everywhere (including one that teleported me from one area to another one and got me stuck and unable to move), every time I chose a dialogue option I would have to talk to them again just to choose another one, typos and misspellings, no sound or animation when you click a button and it opens a door... Those are just some of the things I encountered. None of them are game-breaking, but they do make it difficult to enjoy the experience at times; especially when I had one bug with the targeting of a door that caused me to get stuck for two hours as I tried to interact with it, couldn't, and thought it wasn't available yet. I then proceeded to wander around until I accidentally got to highlight it in one of my desperate attempts to find a way through. After that, I learned to check things from every angle and found two other entry points that I had missed because I had to interact with them at strange angles. 


These types of things made me feel like the game had been made in a hurry or without much love, as I soon began finding that same emptiness seeping into other areas, like realising there wasn't much to do when I began completing quests. The animals and plants were an afterthought because I had an overflux of the items the animals give. 

As for plants, I was (unfortunately) happy that I didn't have to tend to them every day as I could just hose them down with ungodly amounts of water (I was so sad to see the animation for watered plants!) and be on my way until an indeterminate amount of time later when I'd notice they had grown. This was a relief to me as the mechanics for planting the seeds are so awkward: You stand in the field and use the mouse to place the seeds, except you cannot see the pointer so sometimes you'll put it in the wrong soil tile. Watering is also kind of awkward to aim right, so you waste a bunch of it and have to refill a lot.

No Place Like Home had me aggressively swaying from loving the game to being disappointed in the execution of it. In theory, rebuilding life in a world abandoned from mistreatment of the planet was incredible, but the world is lacking in structure, empty, and awkward. I felt lonely in a world where the NPCs just stood there idly, having very strange reasons to stay on Earth while humanity went away to Mars. One of the old men said he had watched his kids and grandkids leave because "there wasn't a place for him on Mars" with all the new tech, and the guy that upgrades your vacuum never got an invitation to go but refuses to elaborate as to why. I doubt I'll ever get an answer as there is no friendship system, hence no new dialogue to unlock.


As for the quests — which are the only interaction you really have with all the NPCs — they were good enough. Although I enjoyed befriending animals and replanting trees, after a while of doing this, I noticed I barely had any more to do; that’s when I felt the emptiness of the game itself. Aside from befriending the animals (which boils down to you feeding them, putting a hat on them, and then feeding them again to get materials) and the overabundance of crops I had, the game felt generally empty. The lifeless NPCs didn’t encourage me to continue down their questlines, as all they did was stand around day and night in an unnatural way. 

Despite the general idea of No Place Like Home being about recovering and replenishing the planet with those left on Earth, I myself began to feel a sense of desolation; the NPCs felt lacking in personality and, paired up with with the absence of interactions, it made me feel lonelier than the wasteland that Earth had become. After completing a quest of replanting healthy trees, and having the land go from polluted to lush and full of life, the best answer I got from the quest giver was a half-hearted one-line joke about how he might go check it out at some point, later complaining about his back not allowing him to do so. No Place Like Home pulls itself in several directions, as it touches on a dark and possible story of pollution on Earth, but doesn’t give the plot and characters enough focus, making it feel like an afterthought, and thus, empty. I didn’t want to save the Earth for these NPCs because it didn’t seem like they cared at all.

There are definitely some great features to the game, such as the cooking being just one click of a button, beautiful UIs full of images of animals, being able to put hats on your furry (and feathered?) friends, chests to find throughout the world, and even the option to “save and go home” was nice. But there are also a lot of downsides to it, like the enemies being completely meaningless because you just stun lock them, the movement of the fighting being awkward, the lack of jumping, and millions of loading screens. I really wanted to like this game; it had so much potential, so many amazing ideas! I just couldn’t connect with the world and its inhabitants.


That being said, there’s a creative mode that completely takes away the quest, unlocks everything, and makes all items free. I shall try this when the game comes out and the bugs have been resolved, as I did really want to see a completed farm.

All in all, there isn't much to do in No Place Like Home except clean the land and idle around waiting for the next quest that will give you something to do. I know that sounds like every game ever, but the lack of emotion, personality, and life of the world make it just feel like a walking-and-picking-up-trash-while-befriending-animals sim. No goals, no relationships. 

4.00/10 4

No Place Like Home (Reviewed on Windows)

Minor enjoyable interactions, but on the whole is underwhelming.

No Place Like Home had a lot of potential and a great idea behind restoring Earth and caring for the animals that inhabit it, it just forgot that home needs a family.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Violet Plata

Violet Plata

Staff Writer

Liable to jump at her own shadow.

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