Platforms: iOS, Mac, PlayStation 4 (reviewed), PlayStation Vita (reviewed), and Windows
As stated by its tagline, Home really is a unique horror adventure. I’ve never played anything quite like it and actually found it rather hard to parse my thoughts on it. On one hand it was something different and intriguing, but on the other it left much to be desired when all was said and done.
Home’s main focus is on narrative. It tells the story of a man who wakes up in an unknown house under suspicious circumstances. His goal is simply to make it home and find his wife. From there the story takes some twists and turns, all of which you will have some part in shaping. You’ll have a number of opportunities to decide how things play out, which make it a game worth playing through at least a couple of times just to see how it changes. Although, there are technically three different endings, so if you’re a completionist and want to see everything that’s something to keep in mind.
Home is a short game, not taking much more than an hour to complete on your first time through. This makes the story pretty hard to discuss without getting into spoiler territory. I will say that I found it to be kind of predictable and also rather vague with its ending. That said, it still kept me intrigued up until the end and had me wanting to piece together this mystery.
From a gameplay perspective, there’s not much here. You’ll control the main character and travel through a series of side scrolling settings, while finding different items that will help you figure out exactly what happened. It feels a bit like a point and click adventure game because you will need to find certain items that will help you solve puzzles, but the challenge is minimal. On top of that, of the few puzzles that are in the game, most open up optional areas that aren’t necessary to see the game through to the end. If you aren’t paying attention it’s possible you could pass right on by important narrative information.
As a piece of horror content, I have mixed feelings about Home. It utilizes good enough sound design to create a constant sense of tension and even got me with a couple of jump scares. Unfortunately that tension never really pays off in any way, which left me disappointed. The pixel art design also doesn’t do much to help the horror feel as the chunky models felt more like cartoons than anything else. Maybe some suspension of disbelief is needed here, but I couldn’t buy into it because I’ve seen games with similar art styles do horror far better.
After playing through Home six times (three each on PS4 and Vita), I will say that it tells a decent, if slightly predictable, story. Seeing how your choices can change the narrative is interesting enough to make it worth playing through multiple times and with each playthrough lasting less than an hour, it’s not much of a time investment. If you’re looking for stellar gamplay or a true horror experience, Home probably isn’t going to do much for you, but if you’re okay with playing detective and piecing together a mystery, it’s worth a look.