Several critics have used Gone Home as an example of how games are artistic. Its atypical gameplay demonstrates how games are moving towards more artistic forms in the industry. It was praised for addressing LGBT issues, and is a remarkably gorgeous first-person adventure. It has a very strong story and an adult, serious game.
Story: Katie Greenbriar, 21, returns from abroad to her family’s new home in Boon County, Oregon on 7 June 1995. Her father is a failed writer who makes a living reviewing home electronics. Her mother is a wildlife conservationist who recently got promoted to director. Samantha is her 17-year-old sister who is coming-of-age. When Katie arrives she finds that the house is desolated, with much of the family’s possessions still in moving boxes. She finds a note on the door from Sam warning Katie to not investigate what happened, so she does the exact opposite and begins to piece together what happened.
Play Style: You play as Katie and poke around the beautifully designed house with intricate, niche rooms. The house has a warm, lived-in feel with the stuff of the family members lying around. The house is not overly stylish or exaggerated, but plain on-point real. Everything feels very realistic in the house, from the Dad’s liquor to Samantha’s essays. Even though there is no interaction with anyone, the cast feels as real as possible, and you continue to figure out the artistic story as you put the puzzle pieces together.
Audience: Gamers who are into walking simulators and the trend of games moving towards a more artistic feel will love Gone Home. It has a genuine feel of reality to it, and has been commended for it by a range of critics. Gamers who are natural explorers and love the suspense that surrounds a game will love Gone Home for its ever-present sense of dread.
Platforms: Gone Home is available on Linux, Microsoft Windows, OS X, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and iOS.
Verdict: Samantha’s coming of age, complications in the parent’s marriage, and finally the reason why Katie left home, all have a strong emotional impact when the story is put together by the player. You unravel the roots and secrets of the family, and feel like a true investigator in the process. The tension that floats in the air never goes away, and for those reasons we enjoyed Gone Home.