Gone Home is not your traditional game. It is an interactive adventure that focuses on narrative and exploration in the same vain as the Stanley Parable. You control a young lady named Kaitlin who has just come back from a long trip abroad to discover her family’s house is empty. The purpose of the game is to figure out what has happened. You explore the house to find notes or items that help you piece together the story. The developers did a fantastic job creating an ambience with the use of sounds and lighting. The voice acting in particular is well done and helps you feel more involved with the narrative.
At no point during the two hours it took to beat did I feel frustrated for needing to trackback and the length of the story was perfect. The developers did a great job designing a house that was interesting to explore and that held interesting secrets. I went into the game not knowing anything about the story-line and as I was exploring the house I wasn’t sure what to expect. Why was the house empty? Was everyone kidnapped? Was it aliens? Zombies? A serial killer? What unraveled though was even more unexpected, so much so I sat there in silence as the credits rolled. It was a game that evoked emotions that the majority of AAA games fail at delivering.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Tropical Freeze is slow to start with the first world being straight forward and easy. Once you get to the second world things start to become trickier, more exciting and more intense. There’s variety in the way that Retro Studios designed the levels. They aren’t just straight dull levels but they also include a lot of vertical movement. Each world features its own vivid color scheme and each level has its share of secrets. The game features collectibles and hidden paths that lead to secret levels. The game pushes you to react as quick as possible and expects you to react on a seconds notice. This makes some deaths feel cheap due to the game moving a tad too fast but this does not take away from the enjoyment that is on offer. All in all, another quality game for the Wii U.
Even though there are thousands of games available on smartphone devices, many of them just aren’t that good. Every once in a while we’ll get something fantastic. This past week I downloaded Threes and Oquonie. Threes is a straight forward puzzle game that does an amazing job hooking you in, it’s charming and is a joy to play. The aim is simple; match up the numbers on the board to accumulate higher numbers until the board is full. Threes is addictive. You might be at work or in school and it’ll creep into your consciousness and you’ll start thinking of ways to improve your strategy. The game is pleasing to the eye with great use of colors, art and it runs at 60 fps. Threes might be the greatest game to come out on the iPhone.
Oquonie is another puzzle game I’m playing. You start off controlling some kind of dinosaur-like creature. As you play through the game you collect objects that open doorways to other dimensions (I’m guessing?). As you continue on you experience some form of reincarnation, I changed into a bunny, bird, pig and some sort of humanoid creature. Changing into certain creatures grants you access to more rooms to progress through the game. In all honesty I have no idea what’s going on in the game, but it’s still a lot of fun to play. The game features brilliant artwork by Rekka Bellam and accompanied by beautiful music. There is no text, no voice overs, no explanations whatsoever, you tap on the screen to move, you tap on characters to interact.
It’s risky to make a game like Oquonie but I think it worked out well in this case. The world is mysterious enough that you want to explore it and by not giving you a story to work with it lets you use your imagination to build a one. The world of Oquonie is bizarre, intricate and beautiful. If you’re looking for something a little different, this is your best bet.