Home: PS4: Game Review

     I'd heard about Home quite some time ago on the Playstation Blog, and it has finally arrived via the PSN.  I picked it up on a whim because it looked both interesting, and had the very reasonable price tag of $2.99 which includes cross buy so I can play it on my PS Vita.

A Definite Reference to Poe's A Cask of Amontillado
     Home claims to subtly change with your decisions throughout the game but after numerous plays the changes are fairly useless.  In this respect the ambiguity of storytelling is a hindrance, and the things hinted always led me to pretty much the same conclusion at the end.  But I must applaud the effort, and I really am curious if this concept can be made to work on a much larger scale for future games.

     Because of the game's brevity, taking only about an hour to make it through to the end of the game, I can't talk too much about what the plot is without possibly spoiling things.  It begins with a man waking up in a strange place, and him attempting to recall the series of events that led him to where he was.  He must pick up pieces and decide whether or not he picked something up or did he really do specific actions.  Each action you choose is how the character relates his story- "Did I pick up the gun?" or "Did I take the photo?"  The sum of your actions only really matter in a couple small changes at the end, and only one decision alters the meat of the story in any way.  One pivotal moment surrounded by a handful of fairly frivolous choices.

     I think my reason for not fully standing by Home as a revolutionary game is the fact that this is a murder mystery where you decide what to believe, so even if the evidence says one thing, you may choose to not believe it- and that can be a problem.  If all the signs point to one particular interpretation, you can still deny believing it, going contrary to all provided evidence.  To me it feels like the illusion of a shifting story.  There's a trail of bodies and a mystery, but if you are someone that truly explores there are enough hints to point you in the right direction.  Meaning the solution to this puzzle is interpreting it, not necessarily how the facts are shown.

     Because I don't want to be too harsh towards this game I must say that it's sound effects are great and add a tremendous layer to the atmosphere.  The simple pixelated graphics don't detract from the play at all, and it was a nice little experience, like playing an interactive version of the story that so clearly inspired Home, Edgar Allen Poe's A Cask of Amontillado.  This is a short and sweet game that can be played and enjoyed in one sitting.

     For a meager $3 Home is a decent game, and worth a playthrough.  Overall it is an interesting idea, it just wasn't executed as well as it could have been.  I still recommend giving this a try.  Put on some headphones and turn out the lights.  It's a neat little experience that might get you questioning what really happened.  With that being said, I genuinely believe both Lone Survivor and The Last Door have handled this type of game much better.  (Disclaimer, I played a free copy of The Last Door chapter 1, then donated/bought a full copy of the game.)

     As a very interesting side, the Official Home site has a place where you may post your thoughts and read others' posts about what they think really happened.  [ Home: What Happened ]
     Personally I think the story was made so vague that we could impose too much of anything we want over what was really going on.  There is enough to point fingers in a number of directions, and the more things you examine, the the closer to a concrete ending you can have, assuming you "choose" to believe it.
     When it comes down to it, I would very much like to see another game like this in a much larger production, and I hope Ben Rivers' next game, Alone With You, keeps up the good work.


  1. The short version: Absolutely interesting.This is not a game that sets out to unwind and entertain you.It intends to make you think.You need to do the work of creating the story.So in that respect,it may not in any case be a game whatsoever.On the other hand in the event that it is a game,you're the one being played.@Jessica Glean.

  2. Thank you for commenting! It's true, this game plays on our own imaginations, but I think it is done quite well. All the hinting and insinuation gives it an air of mystery and unease that makes the game great. I would also recommend giving The Last Door a try, it is more overt and direct, but they do Lovecraft-ian horror quite well. Oof, the sound design makes that game soooooo creepy.