Gone Home Review

When you leave home for the first time it feels strange, but coming home after that is even weirder. Being away for so long that the place you call home has changed beyond the point of recognition is an unpleasantly alienating sensation, and the immediate desire is to collect information: Examine stuff, look around, see what's changed. In Gone Home, that's pretty much all you do.

Gone Home is the tale of a girl who's just spent a year travelling around Europe. Returning to an unfamiliar home that her family have recently moved into, you arrive to find that no-one is home. A note from your sister is pinned to the front door, but reading it doesn't make things any clearer. You called ahead to say when you'd be back, which only makes matters stranger. Lights flicker, the house creaks, and the thunderstorm outside really isn't helping.

Trying to find out why your family aren't at home is the immediate reason for exploration, but your motivations quickly evolve - as you peek in drawers and read through letters, you gradually learn more about your family, piecing together the things through fantastically realistic details. The house you explore is large and creepy, but the objects scattered throughout always make it feel like a home. For a game that relies on writing rather than characters, Gone Home always seems to nail the tone: One letter to your mother from her friend talks about "Nintendo Street Fighter Cassettes", which is exactly the sort of thing that mums tend to say.

It's impossible to say more without spoiling a game that only lasts two hours, but Gone Home is special for two reasons: It nails the alienating sensation of feeling lost in a place that should be your home, and perfectly emulates the mild fear that comes with exploring a big dark house - especially when it appears that something might be wrong. If you think that great narrative is its own reward, you'll love Gone Home. Otherwise, you'll probably be safer just avoiding it.

Version Tested: PC

Game completed in approximately 2 hours.

9 / 10

  • Amazing attention to detail
  • Excellent use of voyeurism
  • Unexpected narrative
  • Very expensive for 2 hours

Click above for enlarged Gone Home Screenshots

12 Comments

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User Comments

CrotchRocket's Avatar

CrotchRocket@ trajan_iv

I wish I'd read your opinions on this game before wasting my time and money. You described my experience with the game perfectly and i feel completely dumbstruck by the consistent high review scores the game is getting.

That's not to say the game is bad but there seams to be a misunderstanding at the moment among reviewers in the industry that something "a bit different" and independently developed automatically makes it good.

How can i trust review scores when any indie game that has a fresh gameplay idea is considered a masterpiece....Now that I think about it the idea isn't even that new, Anyone remember The 7th Guest of 1993?
Posted 19:07 on 01 September 2013
trajan_iv's Avatar

trajan_iv

I gave this 3 stars instead of zero, because it was an innovative way to tell a story - and I love stories. I was tempted to give this a zero for the same reason - I love stories. And this one sucked.

Gone Home is a literary bait and switch that promises a spooky mystery, a haunted mansion with secret passageways, misguided teens who dabble in the occult, and a family gone missing. It has a dark and stormy night, creaky floorboards, and mysterious pentagrams and candles. And while all of this sounds good, it's not what this game delivers.

*major spoilers*
And where are the missing parents? They went away for the weekend - presumably to add a little spark to their marriage. And where is my lost little sister? She ran off with her girlfriend. That's it. No ghosts. No mystery. No plot twists. Nothing.

Yawn.

Those are two hours I'll never get back.
Posted 22:40 on 20 August 2013
Richeh's Avatar

Richeh

It's exploring a massive strange house in a thunderstorm, trying to work out where your family is. It's very scary. It isn't Resident Evil scary though, or even Amnesia scary.

I think any further warnings, reassurances or explanations would spoil the experience, but I'll say this: I don't like jump scares. I do like stories. I think that if you don't like jump scares and you do like stories, you should still play Gone Home.
Posted 01:33 on 19 August 2013
vivster's Avatar

vivster

Is it scary though?
I'm not in the mood for jump scares.
Posted 18:46 on 18 August 2013
Syme's Avatar

Syme

It's longer than 2 hours if you explore everything though, you'd pay as much for a film and it's better than a lot of films out at the moment. Well worth the price.
Posted 13:44 on 18 August 2013
CCastiel's Avatar

CCastiel@ Feral_Cow

It's not really about length more about value for money.
Posted 00:35 on 17 August 2013
Feral_Cow's Avatar

Feral_Cow@ CCastiel

Judging games by length is silly.
Posted 22:28 on 16 August 2013
CCastiel's Avatar

CCastiel@ Jam_Sponge

Yeah, it does sound like an interesting premise, definitely get it if its on sale.
Posted 18:54 on 16 August 2013
dudester's Avatar

dudester

Top of my steam wish list for the next sale.
Posted 18:41 on 16 August 2013
Jam_Sponge's Avatar

Jam_Sponge@ CCastiel

Yeah, it's steep - but I don't regret it at all. Loved it.
Posted 18:09 on 16 August 2013
darthclone2's Avatar

darthclone2@ CCastiel

Oh but it certainly IS worth it i wont spoil anything but the story is amazing
Posted 17:56 on 16 August 2013
CCastiel's Avatar

CCastiel

Sounds interesting but £13 pound for two hours doesn't seem worth it.
Posted 17:42 on 16 August 2013

Game Stats

Gone Home
9
Out of 10
Gone Home
  • Amazing attention to detail
  • Excellent use of voyeurism
  • Unexpected narrative
  • Very expensive for 2 hours
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 15/08/2013
Platform: PC
Developer: The Fullbright Company
Publisher: The Fullbright Company
Genre: Unknown
Rating: TBC
Site Rank: 905
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