GAME NAME: Home
DEVELOPER(S): Benjamin Rivers
PUBLISHER(S): Benjamin Rivers
RELEASE DATE(S): October 28th, 2014
Yet another 16-bit style indie horror game emerges on the PS4 called Home. Benjamin Rivers is the company behind this title and they have created an isolated eerie atmosphere with a ‘build your own story’ type feel. In Home you wake up in a mysterious house not knowing how you arrived there with no clue on what to do. The whole object of this game is to find clues on why you are at this “Home” and find a way out while exploring some creepy areas on the property. There is a lot within this game that reminds me of other games or experiences I have had, which is not a bad thing at all. I say Home is a mixture of Maniac Mansion and Lone Survivor meets a text based adventure. I recommend wearing headphones with the lights off to play this game and make sure you have about an hour and a half to play it. Even when you start the game it says that the experience is better if played through in one sitting, which could take about a little over an hour.
The controls are extremely simple with the analog or d-pad to move your character and ‘X’ is used for opening doors, searching items and other action commands. All you have is a flashlight to help guide you through this overly dark house and if needed you can press up to flash the light upwards, which might help finding new clues or have an action command to search something above. You have the reigns to explore almost anywhere on the property to find out clues and progress in finding an escape. With no true direction, everything is up to you in how you explore, where you explore and exactly what choices you will make. When searching areas like bookcases or tables, a text screen will appear and tell you information and then usually ask you a question. How you answer these question will determine how you complete the game, such as finding a gun on the table and then being asked “I didn’t take it, did I?”. Everything in Home could change how it plays out and ultimately on how it ends. There are random noises popping out and no music, which creates the eerie and isolated scared feeling. Of course, wearing headphones made my experience a bit more immersive as there was nothing to interfere with any random sounds or actions being done within the game.
I really like how this game kept a very simplistic visual style with the 16-bit retro feel and was still able to keep a creepy vibe till the end. Wearing headphones definitely made this game shine with the sound and effects to create that immersive scary experience. Even if you don’t wear headphones, I suggest turning up your sound quite a bit to get a similar effect so it won’t drain the isolated feeling.
Home is a surprisingly well created experience that leaves the player in charge of how it’s played. It is about an hour and a half long, which makes it a quick experience with a few replays available. I do wish it were a little longer, but it is nice that you can play through it multiple times to create a different experience all in an afternoon. This game has an amazing price of only $2.99 on the PSN, which I highly recommend picking it up for that and also to help support the indie studio Benjamin Rivers so they can create some more amazing experiences just like Home.