Home Review — Another Fine Indie Horror Offering
If you ask me, horror as a genre of video games is far and away the coolest. An interactive medium like gaming allows developers an insane amount of creativity and freedom when delivering a horror experience, and the results range from haunted house titles such as Dead Space to more cerebral romps like Amensia: The Dark Descent and indie explorations such as Lone Survivor. When your primary goal is to unsettle players, it leaves a lot of potential for creativity.
Home is yet another indie horror offering, and it has atmosphere in spades. It opts for a side-scrolling presentation and a low-res, pixelated 16-bit look, much like Lone Survivor. But it focuses heavily on the mystery of events unfolding, bringing players into its world with superb audio design and with clues to the greater plot to be discovered throughout.
Home (2012): PC
Developer: Benjamin Rivers
Publisher: Benjamin Rivers
Released: June 1, 2012
Just who the protagonist of Home is never really comes out, but it’s clear his memory is not so good from the outset of the game. Awakening in a darkened house in the middle of a thunderstorm, he finds a flashlight and goes about exploring the place — and immediately comes across a dead, bloodied body. Finding a way out of the house and back home, along with trying to discover what is going on, are all he can think about.
Home builds its dread by quickly throwing players into a situation in which there always seems to be someone, or something, just out of sight. Without spoiling anything, exploration is key — Home functions almost like an adventure game in that sense — and learning what’s going on and where to go is always secondary to the fact that there might be a killer on the loose.
Presentation is everything here. Though graphically, Home isn’t too intense a game, it still manages to be frightening in its portrayal of the game world. You have only your flashlight to illuminate the world around you, and the pocket of the world you can see at any given moment is minimal, with only a few feet in any direction being made clear.