So, this review is only like 3 years overdue. What can I say? I’ve been busy. I’ve seen Gone Home around, here and there, always in the periphery. When it came on sale a couple of weeks ago, I bought it for PS4, but it’s usually $19.99. It’s also available on Steam, Xbox One, Linux, and Apple Store. It’s developed by Fullbright & Majesco. Some of them are Bioshock veterans, another of my favorite franchises. When I finished this game, I realized that only 4 of my Steam friends owned it and, although most had heard of it, not that many people had played it. That needs to change.
I think it’s safe to say, I didn’t even know how much I needed this game. It’s a strange game. No combat. No puzzles. Just exploring the house without much to go on about where your family has disappeared to. It’s definitely a forerunner for story-driven games like Life is Strange.
Katie, our main character, arrives home after a year in Europe without much notice. Her family home is empty and it’s up to her to figure out where everyone’s gone.This family’s story is told mostly in scraps of paper and letters, along with the occasional journal entry from our protagonist’s sister, Sam. It’s sad, tangled, and adorable all wrapped up into one heart-wrenching and strikingly relatable story.
The house holds individual story lines intertwined for Mom, Dad, and Sam. Each clue highlights how far they’ve all drifted in the year since Katie has seen them, what inner turmoil they’ve been carrying alone, and how much they all need each other. At times scary, creepy, and weird, it turns out to be kind of a character sketch in where the human mind will take you.
Gone Home actually a short game that took me under three hours, and only that long because I didn’t pick up ONE item, in ONE room, and went searching for the missing clue. There’s even an achievement for a speed run under one minute! This game is worth every second of your time. It left me thinking about what happened when the game left off and all the games I’ve played that I wish could have been half as good.