Gone Home Review (PC)

Somebody ate all the damn pizza

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Gone home is an atmospheric story-based game that’s currently available on Steam. That’s about as much as we can say without spoiling something. We’ll elaborate a little bit more further on in the post but if you just want to know whether it’s worth playing, yes it is. If you go into it completely unaware you’ll get the most out of it, but if you need a little more convincing then carry on reading.

You play as Katie, the oldest daughter in a family who has been travelling around Europe for a year and is finally coming home to a new house her parents and little sister have moved into. When you get there however, no-one is home and you don’t know why.

Throughout the game you wander around in first person, and click on things. It might be an object you can pick up and examine, it might be a key that unlocks a door, or it might be a new note that tells you something more about the family. You explore the house at your own pace and slowly learn so much about your family. It’s astounding how efficiently the story is told, and what an effect it can have without being cheap. Through hints and inferences you learn about peoples’ problems and their interactions while constantly being reminded of how alike everybody is, particularly if you were a teenager in the 90s. Whilst the surface story is simple and straightforward, incredibly clear but never too patronising – there are many layers to the other stories spread throughout the house. Your father is an author but why does he only write about one topic? Why are these tickets slightly hidden away? IF you take the time to explore and think, you’re rewarded with a rich family drama with likable characters and an intelligent plot.

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Whilst all this is going on, Gone Home constantly works to put you on edge using sound effects and lighting so it’s well worth putting a pair of headphones on and playing through the game in one sitting.

Many complain that at around an hour and a half, with no replayability to speak of, it’s a very short game. For £14.99 I’d agree with them but you can currently pick it up for £7.49 and at that price is a worthwhile experience. Narratives in games are often too simple and crass, beating you over the head with forced symbolism and tired cliches. Gone Home serves to nourish your more intellectual side and is all the better for it. Is it a game? Who knows, but it’s definitely interesting and well worth a look if you’re up for a good story.

Verdict 8

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