Gone Home Review

You spend all of Gone Home searching the abandoned house for clues, like this one.

  • Developer: The Fullbright Company
  • Publisher: The Fullbright Company
  • Release Date: 16 August 2013
  • Time played: 1.8 hours

Once again I have been attracted to try another "non-game" due to it being critically-acclaimed. I've done it before with Dear Esther and Thirty Flights of Loving, and now again with Gone Home. I'm not quite sure why I decided to get it. Maybe I was hoping that if I kept playing these non-games one day I will get it, one day I will understand what was so good about them. I'm happy to say that Gone Home is slightly better than previous non-games I've played, but only slightly.

Plot (4/5)
The game is set in 1995 and you play a young woman who has returned back to the U.S. from a long trip around Europe only to find that neither your parents or your sister are at home, with a cryptic message on the front door. I can't really reveal more about the plot since that's actually part of the whole game suffice to say I believe this is probably the game's strongest selling point especially since it addresses issues relevant in today's media.

The story is well told through a combination of the various snippets of information you gather around the house and diary entries you receive from your younger sister.

A family portrait. Your parents and younger sister are missing when you arrive home.

Gameplay (1/5)
As this is another "non-game" there is not really much gameplay to speak of besides investigating the house. Admittedly it's probably a slight step up from Dear Esther or Thirty Flights of Loving since at least in this game you can interact with stuff. I also like how it's not as cryptic or pretentious as Dear Esther and how you can piece the story together from the clues you gather before it reveals it all through a diary entry - like a good mystery novel. Sadly, there's still not much gameplay to speak of and hence the low score.

Sound (4/5)
Voice acting is great and believable. The acoustics of the storm outside also happens to change depending on which room you enter helping with the immersion.

Music (4/5)
The soundtrack is minimal except when you hear the various demo tapes scattered around the house. The music is of the “riot grrl” genre (which admittedly I never knew existed before playing this game) which is apparently an underground feminist punk rock movement that started in the early 90s. The music is a perfect fit for the game's setting and… well I can't say anymore until you experience the game .

Graphics (4/5)
Like Dear Esther, a lot of effort has been made with the graphics, however where Dear Esther placed the focus on creating a beautiful yet foreboding island in the Hebrides, Gone Home places the focus on the little details such as books, magazines, canned food even scraps of paper lying around the empty house.

Replay (2/5)
Played the game once and it was mildly entertaining, however there isn't much motivation to play the game again.

Polish (5/5)
I didn't notice any serious bugs while playing which is refreshing to see nowadays.

Score – 6/10

Probably the best "non-game" I've played yet with a comprehensible plot, fitting music and decent graphics. Just make sure you don't go in expecting any puzzles as this is another of those games where discovering the narrative is the sole focus.

If you want to get the game, you can get it on Steam.

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