-Spoiler Free Review-
Gone Home, released in 2013 by The Fullbright Company, has been on my radar for a while. I knew few details about it, but I knew I would like the storyline-based aspect and the focus on hunting for clues. When I heard the rumor that it was going to be one of the June PSPlus free games, I was ecstatic. I downloaded it the day it came out and started playing right away. If you have PSPlus, you should make time this month to download it!
You play as Katie Greenbriar in June of 1995. You arrive at home after returning from Europe, but your family isn’t there. Gameplay revolves around searching the eerily empty house for clues. As you progress through the storyline, it feels more like an interactive novel than a game. There are a few puzzles (of the very simple, search around for the passcode, variety), but the focus is on exploration and discovery. Your rewards are not items or trophies, but simply details about the story in which you are immersed.
It’s a super short game – I finished it in two sessions. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. The style is well suited for a short play time. If it were longer, you might get sick of poking around in every nook and cranny looking for clues. (I wouldn’t get sick of it, but I’m a bit crazy that way.)
I would recommend playing at night with few other distractions–surround sound is a plus. The sound design is amazing. Well timed thunder claps, subtle bumps and groans from the creaky old house–I was nervous looking around every corner, despite the fact that I pretty much knew this wasn’t the type of game where anything would jump out at me.
I went into this game knowing as little as possible, so I would hate to spoil any of the discoveries you’ll make while playing. I will say that the different narratives you will uncover while searching the house far exceeded my expectations, and went way beyond the main plot of the game. The more you look around, the more details you will find that will flesh out the lives and stories of the main characters.
Gone Home is available for free ($0.00!) right now if you have PSPlus, as well as on Steam for $19.99. I highly recommend checking it out if you like beautiful stories and a riveting, suspenseful atmosphere.