Posted: November 22
Gone Home is an unusual, quirky piece of interactive storytelling... Less of a "game" than I expected, but no less enjoyable for it.
Wandering around an empty house, reading notes, documents, and crumpled letters is intriguing, and slightly unsettling: you don't know this place (neither does the character you play), and you're never quite sure what's going to be around the next corner or behind the next door. Maybe it was just me, but entering darkened rooms with a storm thundering away outside gave me a constant sense of unease and foreboding, and I was genuinely nervous about what I might uncover as I flicked each light switch. Whether or not that was warranted, I'll not spoil.
As the clues unravel the story and the voice of your sister, Sam ("speaking" to you via her journal), shares details of inner turmoil and intimate secrets, a genuine concern to uncover what has happened to your family slowly builds and drives you onward. It won't take you long to reach the conclusion (a friend did it in 2 hours, my experience was just over 4... but then I do have a tendancy to poke into every nook and cranny and examine every object available to me), but I'd be surprised if you didn't feel some emotion at the revelations.
This is due in no small part to the beautiful voice acting of Sarah Grayson as Sam - honestly, I've never felt such a connection to a character that doesn't appear on-screen before. The ambient audio also works very well, and there's some kick-♥♥♥ girl punk music to be enjoyed by sticking various cassettes you find into nearby players.
Visually, it's not groundbreaking - but it does the job. There's lots to look at, details to uncover, and some sly humour hidden away if you look for it.
Definitely a game to try if you like to deviate from the mainstream, but once again: be prepared for a short experience.