Video Game Review – Home is Where One Starts…

Release Date: May 12th, 2015
Developer / Publisher: David Wehle
Format: PC Game
First playthrough time: 1 hour

Sunrise
Scenery gives good atmosphere

Major Pros:

  • Emotional “a day in the life” story experience
  • Calm no-rush feel with no time related events

Minor Pros:

  • Free exploration
  • Easy and fun-to-acquire achievements cover all dialog triggers
  • Main character is a little girl with an awesome elephant backpack who likes electronics and space
Broken mirror and bottle
There are some darker hints in the game

Major Cons:

  • Short with almost no replay value
  • Almost all the gameplay is centered on story dialog which only comes in English and has no subtitle option

Minor Cons:

  • The player isn’t given an explicit goal
  • It’s not always clear everywhere the player should go to trigger necessary dialog
  • No where does it tell you you can crouch, but you need to for a side dialog
Metal lean-to shelter
Crouching is required for one side dialog, but the player isn’t told they can crouch

The game is pretty short, but in that time the story is sweet. Almost everything is told through the dialog which is limited to only English and has no option for subtitles, making this a game you can really only get the most out of if you can hear and understand what’s being said. Some basics of the girl’s past can be gleaned without the dialog, but the player will miss her personal feelings on things and a lot of the detail.

Ornate symbol
Narrator dialog is required to understand the story and there are no subtitles available

Since there is no branching or any sort of time dependent events, the game lacks any replay value unless you’re looking for achievements. The achievements are fun and completing them all means you’ve found all the interactable items, dialog triggers, and “secrets” in the game, which gives a sense of completion. Partly because of there being no time related events, combined with the scenery and dialog, the game has a very relaxing feel to it that asks the player to simple sit and experience the story. The exploration is free form and everything except the last area (which unlocks after all the required dialog is triggered) can be done in any order.

Holding a bible
Narrator dialog and objects communicate the story

Along with this free form theme, the player isn’t given an explicit goal when starting the game. After exploring a while, it’ll become clear that the goal is to trigger the story and once you’ve found it, figure out a way to open the locked tool shed. There’s no puzzle to this part, you only have to explore the proper areas to trigger the necessary dialog before you’ll be told where to get the shed key and it’ll become obtainable. Another somewhat minor annoyance in the lack-of-direction department is that the player can indeed crouch in the game, but nothing tells you this. It’s only needed to get one side dialog, but for players trying to get the related achievement the game leaves you to figure that out on your own. Overall I found the story a wonderful although short experience. Players that are a fan of non-stereotypical female protagonists will also notice that the little girl in the story is a fan of electronics and space and has a gameboy in her room.

T.S. Eliot quote
The game mood is very relaxed
 Find this game at the publisher’s website or on Steam.

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