The Fall brings some fun and amazing things. We have the weather changing, pumpkins, trick or treating, and Halloween. It’s a time where you may want to step out of your element and get scared. It can happen in many ways from dressing up as your favorite character to a horror movie to even games. But, does Developer Yggdrazil Group and Publisher Mastiff show us something new or will you be screaming all the way home? Let’s find out with Home Sweet Home for the PlayStation VR.
I am going to say this as a warning and this is in no way a bad thing, but Home Sweet Home will play you. So if you don’t like loud noises, scares, screaming, your heart playing a beat, then you may want to think twice and play the non-VR version, but if you welcome any of what I just said, then turn on the PlayStation VR, put on the headphones, turn out the lights, and turn up the sound…you have been warned.
But what is Home Sweet Home really about? Playing as Tim, you have have been through some pain. Not the pain that you can see on the outside of your sleeve, but the internal and emotional pain of losing a loved one. Imagine your wife just gone and no matter what you did, no matter how hard you tried, you couldn’t find her. It’s not like you wanted to lose hope, you couldn’t lose hope. So after some time has passed as the sorrow starts to eat at you almost to the point that you don’t want to go on, you have woken in this place…this unfamiliar place. It is your job to find a way home.
And thus your journey of trying to escape this place, whatever it may be, and find a way home safe begins. But it will not be an easy one, in fact, you can throw that out the window right now. Home Sweet Home is not about to hold your hand to make sure you are safe. It is going to test you, tease you, and it’s going to play with you in ways that thanks to the immersion of Virtual Reality, might make you appreciate the simple things in life just a little bit more.
What you have to understand about Home Sweet Home is that it is about horror, but it’s also about a story. That is if you will take the time to actually explore to learn about it as this will help answer some of the questions you may have. Sure you could just get from point A to point B and be like the average person. But you know what you are made of, you know can do this, and you know can conquer. That is until you start hearing the noises…the clicking…the screams and then you will want to turn the other way and go hide in a locker…that is if the room doesn’t change on you without you knowing it.
But where things start to get really interesting is how you must react. From the footsteps that you can hear that is sometimes overshadowed by the own bass of your heart beating to the clicking sounds to even the breathing really builds up the moments when you must hide. Yes, I will say it, there is no shame in hiding. In fact, you stay hidden…you stay there and you pray. Because whenever that thing is coming for you that seems she has taken an energy drink too many and it seems as though she channeled Usain Bolt to help coach her to run, you really want to run, but Tim here, he is doing the best he can. But come on Tim…if this fear isn’t striking you down, I am sure her weapon will.
So you will be hiding in lockers and use stealth around objects so that you are not detected. Oh did I mention that she can go through walls? No? Well, she can. And I don’t know if the Developer did this on purpose, no wait I am going to say they did, but the need to turn around because you are hearing things that honestly at this point in your life, you are bigger than this but still subject yourself to this fun. So I hope your Hide and Seek skills are phenomenal because you will want them to be. But there is no shame in hiding, in fact, I am all about staying alive for as long as possible.
I didn’t want to show off too much as Home Sweet Home doesn’t need to be shown, it needs to be experienced. I appreciate the extra details that the Developer has put in such as the stains on the walls to the blood on the floor as if a body was previously drug across not to be heard of again. I also like how the woman figure does have assistants or as I like to call them, evil tattle tellers. If you are detected, they will scream and you have no choice but to go hide. It if helps any, you can say they are not screaming, but trying to reach their internal Opera talents. This may help ease the situation, but you can only use this excuse for so long as there are far more worse things to experience here and I really do mean that in a good scary way.
There are puzzles here that are not too difficult, but with everything else that is going on around you, try not to let rushing be your curse. Again, hiding and using stealth will be your allies here. I have mentioned it before, but I am going to say it anyway. In order to have a strong Virtual Reality experience, you need a combination of things such as immersion and sound. When you have the sound that plays on the fear, then you have done something right. There was not one moment that passed that I was almost using the sense of hearing as my guide. From those certain sounds that you need to hear for yourself and the heart-pounding moments that you start to allow you to become Tim, they work and they work very well. You know that feeling you get when you are in a situation that you can just tell is a bad one you know something bad is about to happen, you become more alert, and then a little paranoia starts? Well played Yggdrazil Group…well played.
Now when you take all the sounds and you add immersion to it, it can be powerful. Moving around and having things fall over at the right time can be frightening, but deep down you start to smile cause you know they got you. I mean if you are hiding in a locker and peaking to see it coming for you and you don’t want to turn on the flashlight because you are afraid what might happen…again well done Yggdrazil Group…well done is all I am going to say.
Like in life, there are going to be some frustrations. Some may not like the fact that they may not be shown a way out of a certain area. Remember how I said that Home Sweet Home is not going to hold your hand? It doesn’t need to and honestly, would you really want it to? This is Virtual Reality stealth horror at it’s finest. It is up to you to find the way out and it’s up to you to solve the puzzles. I think if there were these hints or guides if you will, it might actually lose some of the effectiveness that it has going for it. So I appreciate the way it is presented and you should as well.
Home Sweet Home allows us to experience the experience of the unexpected and does it in a very immersive way. Sometimes when we look for too much assistance we may not be happy with the end result compared to the experience of getting there and couldn’t we all use more experience in life?
Home Sweet Home is out now. A review copy was provided. To learn more about Home Sweet Home, please visit the site. To learn more about Yggdrazil Group, please visit their site and make sure you like them on Facebook. To learn more about Mastiff, please visit their site and make sure to like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I have to go back in and hide.