[dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]here are too few games out there that just focus on the environment and let the player just take in the atmosphere of where they find themselves. Homesick by Lucky Pause is one such title and it was just released a few days ago. There’s little in the way of story but what you do find is a treasure trove of lore. Assuming you can find a way to read all of the letters, books, and newspapers lieing around the place.
In Homesick you wake up in an abandoned and rundown building alone and without any clue as to where you are or how you got there. All you see around you is falling apart from neglect and the weathering of time itself. It’s unclear just how long this place has been without tenants but judging from the state of decay it’s probably been some time. The first thing you notice as you wander around the building is that these rooms have once been lived in. So, it’s safe to say that it’s some form of housing.
The most interesting thing about Homesick is in its use of day-night cycles. During the day you can wander around pretty much anywhere where there is light but not blindingly so. The closer you get to a window or a ledge the harsher the white glow becomes to the point of not being able to move further. There’s a way around this, but it involves going to sleep. For at night you’re plagued by what I can only assume as nightmares. Black blobs surround you as you hurry around trying to outrun it but you’ll have to make good use of a fire ax to break down doors to get to the next area of the building.
Homesick is pretty much nothing more than an exploration game similar to recent hits like Gone Home. There’s no enemies to fight and very few puzzles to solve. It’s just you and the building. If there was one thing that I was frustrated about it was trying to figure out how to read the language. Thankfully, I was able to take a peek at a hint guide and sorted it out. If you like ciphers then you’ll love this one major puzzle in the game. You also get a lot of lore once you’re able to read everything, so make sure you go back to the first areas once you do.
Despite the lack of story there’s still a lot to make Homesick worth playing. The music is hauntingly beautiful and I could just sit there for hours listening to the soundtrack. It adds such a somber tone to an already depressing environment that it can’t help but invoke feelings of being alone in a harsh world. And the building itself is so realistic that I practically felt like I really was trying to get out of a bad situation. The ending itself also leaves lots of questions unanswered. Which in a way is a good thing as it’s got me thinking as to what all happened and why I was there to begin with.