• Home


  • "Horror", supposedly


  • Benjamin Rivers


  • Benjamin Rivers

Release Date:

  • June 1, 2012


  • Windows, Mac, maybe others

Systems Used:

  • Windows 7

On Wikipedia:

  • No

While I had heard of Home, the "unique horror adventure" released by Benjamin Rivers in 2012, I hadn't played it until September 2016. Let's not mince words here, calling Home a "unique horror adventure" would be like calling Super Mario Bros. "an epic tale of a humble man that battles the forces of evil in the name of love", which is laughable. Home sucks as a game and sucks as interactive storytelling medium.

From the start, Home did not endear me to it by requesting I turn off the lights, use headphones, and play the game in one sitting. In fact, it seemed to imply that I had to play the game in one sitting, which would've annoyed me any further. But still, I felt annoyed it had the gall to tell me all that.


You do not tell me how I play my games. If you have to tell me the lights off and use headphones to create an "atmosphere", you're doing it wrong. You can leave the lights on and the jump scares in Five Nights at Freddy's, and it can still scare the bejeezus out of you and I'm not missing out on anything (Riven: The Sequel to Myst informs you that you need to wear headphones or get good speakers, but that was mostly due to the crummy internal speakers on computers at the time).

The pacing of the game plods along. Apparently you can't walk and hold the flashlight up at the same time, and the little guy you control moves extremely slowly with no run button in site. The latter is explained in-game as the main character ("Sweater Vest Guy") gets hurt and limps along, but unless Sweater Vest Guy has some sort of crippling neurological injury that disallows him to walk and hold the flashlight up at the same time, it's a horrible design and one of the things that harms the game.

From the beginning, you can already guess that HE was the killer all along (and references to the character's job loss and alcohol-induced sleepwalking seem to support that), but there's also some sort of contradicting "death list" found in underground tunnels just to mess with your mind and introduce some further bullshit ambiguity, all of which leads nowhere.

At the end of the game, you'll have little choice other than to kill yourself. Not in reality of course (the game's not that bad), but the game forces Sweater Vest Guy to commit suicide (whether or not the player character really believes it was he who committed the murders) instead of offering a choice like running away or turning yourself into the police (there is a way to just "slip away", either by a complicated process of picking up and not picking up certain things...or by just quitting during the credits and continuing there). Not that such a choice had a lot of emotional impact. It's hard to feel sympathy for a goofy-looking ginger with two pixels for eyes and a sweater vest, but that only makes presentation even worse--I say the death of Sweater Vest Guy is meaningless based on the way he looks, but keep in mind I also was moved to tears during Final Fantasy VI, and that was sprite art as well.

I don't know Benjamin Rivers. I have no idea if he's a pretentious hack or a halfway decent guy who made a game that I just didn't really like. But if I ever meet him in person or online and voice my displeasure about the game's poor "storyline", I would be irritated if he said something like, "But ambiguity is the NATURE of the game!" then I would tell him this: If you introduce disparate plot threads and then refuse to wrap them up or try to connect them in a logical sense, then you are not a genius, you're just lazy. But to be fair, Ben Rivers never actually said that to my knowledge, so until I have it on record that he said this, then it's still 0-0, he still may be a pretentious hack, but he at least hasn't directly insulted my intelligence, though outsourcing the storyline part certainly seems to suggest the latter.

Not that I didn't give him a chance, I didn't want to sound like a jerk in case that wasn't the case, I rephrased the question and asked it on the Steam forum. If I'm going to go for the jugular, at least make sure I can do that before I look like a fool. But instead I got a bunch of non-answers.

If you have hopes for a good solid storyline, then forget it. Benjamin Rivers has a middle finger toward you if that's you're thing. I'm feeling charitable enough to say that it is okay enough for the 90 or so minutes it runs, but it was a time in my life when I was unemployed and played video games all day. I wouldn't waste time with it today, especially how slow the pacing is. Finally you'll also notice that like my review for Façade, there are no screenshots in this review because apparently developers can disable the in-game screenshot tool through Steam's full screen. Good riddance...it makes the review easier to write.

Home runs for about $3 on Steam, but that's still far too much for what he's asking. Your money is better spent elsewhere. If you really want to know what it's like playing Home watch a longplay on YouTube or something.

(A slightly modified version of this review can be seen on Steam's page for this game)

UPDATE: After posting a slightly modified version of this review for the Steam page of this game, surprisingly, Ben Rivers went back and went back and fixed several items mentioned here. Was I being overly hard? I don't know...he never tried to contact me or anything but I still feel like he listened, so props to him.

January 31 2016