Posted: February 17, 2014
What could, and really should be an intriguning and atmospheric adventure through the tatters of a poor, confused man's life is marred by technical issues, poor execution, and a tired, cliche story that never fully resolves itself.
Defaulting to controller with no options menu, the questionable decision to use down on the analog stick to advance dialog makes it painfully easy to skip important text. Given the way that the text slowly and agonising reveals mundane details about uninmportant objects, this may have been a blessing in disguise.
"Atmosphere" in this sense pretty much comes down to two things: It's dark so you have to use a flashlight, and there's a noise filter. Occaisionally music or ambient sound will help a little and it is usually to signify something that should be important and horrifying. Partially due to the presentation and your character's narration, events fail to have significant impact beyond "oh, okay then". I spent the whole game waiting for it to start in earnest.
The story itself, and its "big reveal" is pretty obvious from the offset. I missed a few clues here and there due to the previously mentioned text issues, or one way doors that inform you that you have missed something and yet prevent you from returning. At the end, you are basically given the option to let things play out in the way you expect, or to have the horrible reveal simply not be there. This might have been a good element if it weren't for the fact that when choosing this option the plot simply does not resolve itself; the character is content simply to say "there are still unanswered questions" Maybe picking different options will give a more satsifying conclusion, but I have no desire to replay it.
Home is very short, which is not something I consider to be a negative, especially when telling a short story with replayable elements. Even at its advertised playtime of 1.5 hours, Home outstayed its welcome. Puzzles that involved using things over and over until they click, mazes, and "hunt the progression ball" made the entire thing a dull slog to an underwhelming end.
If you want a short, atmospheric horror game, play Serena, or Justine, the free story for Amnesia: the Dark Decent. If you want a 2d pixel horror, play Lone Survivor. As it stands, I cannot reccomend Home. It is a dissapointing waste of potential.