(Soothing TV announcer voice, circa 1978): “Constipated? 9 out of 10 doctors* recommend Home Sweet Home ($29.99) for fast relief. Easy to apply vie handy and discrete PSN download or in a GameStop exclusive retail version, this not at all soothing horror adventure game works within minutes so you can get back to doing the things you love. Remember – for fast relief, Just say Home Sweet Home…”
Yes, that’s right. Provided you’re not a too-jaded horror game player who’s seen it all, this one will scare the living crap out of you. Well, given that poop isn’t supposed to be alive when it’s making a hasty retreat, that may be a good thing. Here’s a funny for you: back about two years ago, I played the demo for this on PC and wrote about it, but kind of forgot all that because, hey, life happens. However, as soon as the game installed and I hit that start button, a sense of déjà vu followed by creeping dread washed over me. Eep. Yeah, this was not going to go well for my heart, folks.
Anyway, to me, this game is SCARY, plus tax. How scary? Well, If Kriss Kross will make you Jump, you’re guaranteed to jump at least five times as much here if you’re easily frightened. You’re unarmed, many rooms are tight, detritus filled death traps where doors open to brick walls or other surprises of the surreal nature and worst of all, you’re often searching for clues to puzzles as the game’s box cutter wielding scary lady and a few other creeps do their level best to make you wet yourself. There’s nothing like being all stealthy and avoiding instant death for a few tense minutes, slipping between rooms and gathering clues to progress, only to finally unlock a door and jump out of your seat when something… nasty pops into view. And there’s a hell of a lot of nasty in this game.
Still, while scary it’s not a totally flawless experience. Expect a lot of hiding in lockers, backtracking to retrieve keys or solve puzzles and more stuff familiar to this genre. To its credit, Thai developer Yggdrazil adds a bit of spookiness here with elements from Thai horror and a bit of mythology that lend a nice regional flair to the proceedings. The game auto-saves at key points (usually close to where you might not make it through an area), so you’re never far from succeeding through most of the puzzles, save for two or three that will cook your brain until you get what needs to be done.
Visuals are fine overall, the unsettling music and great use of sound effects do what they do really well and keep you forging ahead through all that door unlocking and puzzle solving with a side of dying when you get trapped by what wants you dead. I had a really amusing experience while playing thanks to some person rolling up to the car wash seven floors down and blasting some DMX song as I was trying to survive a particularly harrowing sequence. I was laughing so much because the tune somehow fit the action that yep, I died. But hey, at least I died laughing, right?
The game also optionally supports PSVR, so that meant taking the disc I got over to a friend’s place (he went all in on the setup for his kid) and seeing what that was like. Of course, I let the kid play first because he’s one of those “experts at horror games” (his words, not mine) and he lasted about 15 minutes before tapping out with an “Okay… this is kind of scary!” For the record, the Move isn’t used for control at all- it’s Dual shock 4 all the way, which is good as you don’t want to be fiddling with that wand while running for your life.
Provided you don’t drop dead while playing, expect about 5 hours of play time here as well as the feeling of being totally unnerved after each play session. It seems this is the first of three games in a series and if this one’s any indication, the next two will be just as (or even more) frightening. I can’t wait, but on the other hand, I really don’t want to know how much more freaky those follow-ups will be. Oh, 10 points for that big swingin’ demon dong you’ll glimpse if you’re looking in the right direction. Hey, it’s not as if I really WANTED to see that thing, but hey… shit happens.
(*the 10th doctor is missing and presumed dead)
Score: B (80%)
-Review copy provided by the publisher