Gone Home, developed by The Fullbright Company, is something special. The problem is that it’s hard to explain why Gone Home is so special without spoiling a great deal of the story. But to give it a spoiler-free summary, you play as Kaitlin Greenbriar who has returned from a year abroad. You find that your family has moved into a new house, left to them by their Uncle. Alas, no one is home. On the door you find a note from your sister Sam telling you that she’s gone and not to look for her.
Obviously you’re going to look for her. How could you not? Throughout the house you’ll find clues to where your family has gone and why. As you explore you’ll be able to manipulate nearly every time in the house. The amount of control you have is astounding.
When you enter the house, you don’t have access to every area immediately. Despite the absolute control you have, there is a narrative to be told, and while you can occasionally discover things out of order, there’s a general way to progress through the game.
As you explore the house you will find certain items that trigger a voice-over from Kaitlin’s sister, Sam. She is the only character you hear from directly throughout the entire game. You’ll find bits and pieces from your parents, but Sam is your narrator. This is her story, and by God what a story it is. It touches on great deal of subjects, all tastefully handled. The true power of the story lies in its ability to make you feel something. Despite most of the story being told over voice-over you really feel the emotion it’s trying to convey. The subjects they touch on are ones almost never talked about in the gaming space, so it’s refreshing that they’re all handled so well.
Overall, what makes Gone Home so special is it’s ability to tell you its story without driving you through a linear path. You have near total freedom to explore the house and discover the story as you go. Beyond it’s amazing story, that’s why you should play Gone Home.