Home holds many secrets, but its subtitle has no hidden meaning: This really is no average horror game. It’s more like a choose-your-own-adventure story that you can walk around in and inhabit for the hour or so it takes to complete. And while I didn’t find the story wholly satisfying, the creepy atmosphere and the branching choices made me want to play through it again as soon as I finished.
The game is a beautifully pixelated side-scrolling adventure that uses its retro style to good effect. The art is minimalistic, and all you can see on the screen is what’s visible in the circle of light cast by your lantern. The sound effects are very well done also, and account for much of the creepy atmosphere of the game.
The story, told through text boxes, progresses at a leisurely pace as you explore your surroundings and tap things that catch your eye, like bookshelves and corpses. The idea is to walk around and figure out what the heck is going on. To say much more would start to spoil the game’s mysteries.
The only actions you have available are to move, look up, and inspect/interact with certain things. Only a small handful of puzzles are scattered throughout the game, and I would have liked to see more included. Perhaps most intriguing are the parts where the story branches and the main character asks you what he did: whether he picked up the knife or left it on the table; what he found under the pile of rags.
Home nails the creepy atmosphere and growing tension of a good thriller. The story left me wanting more, but it also made me replay the game to see the different branches of the story. If that sounds like its worth the price of admission, you won’t be disappointed. Creating such an immersive atmosphere is something most games don’t even try to do.