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So, I Finally Played ‘Home’

Beating the backlog, one game at a time

I recently published an article about beating my Steam backlog by getting organised and the first game I’ve completed with this new approach is Home.

I chose Home not because of its production values or reviews, but because, well, it’s short.  I needed a game to start my new approach on the right foot and read that Home takes less than two hours to beat.

Whatever my reasons for finally installing Home, I found it to be an enjoyable yet flawed title.

For those who aren’t familiar with Home, it is a horror adventure title that released on Steam back in June 2012.  It’s essentially a murder-mystery with echoes of the point-and-click era, in that you search for items to solve puzzles and expand the story.

Home’s visual style sets it apart from the many other horror titles in my Steam library.  Its pixel art purposefully lacks detail, providing enough of a canvas for the player to use their imagination and flesh out the details themselves.

The audio leaves much to be desired.  The sound effects have clearly been used from a free or low-budget resource and the sound of the main character’s footsteps will grate on you before long.  It’s a shame because had Benjamin Rivers Inc. invested in the sound design and audio aspects, it would have enhanced the overall experience significantly.  With that being said, there are certain audio cues that help to build tension, so there has clearly been some consideration by the developer.

Home’s story is its biggest strength and weakness.  Waking in a mansion with nothing but a flashlight and a dead body, you must piece together the mystery of how you got there and whether you committed the murder or whether you were framed.  Home does a decent job of introducing extra doubt and intrigue as the story progresses, but its reliance on player interpretation will frustrate some who play it.

Home has multiple endings dependent on decisions made immediately before the end of the game, with each decision being based upon the player’s interpretation of the story.  Essentially, Home asks you what you think happened and will then confirm that you were right.  This may work for some players, but I felt like it robbed me of finding out exactly what the developer had intended as the “true” ending of the game.  This may have been the point, but it still leaves a sour taste in the mouth.

Overall, I’d still recommend Home if you’re looking for a way to pass a few hours.  It’s cheap (currently £1.99 on Steam), has an interesting art style and the story’s mystery is reasonably engaging, even if it falls a little flat.

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