Home Open

by Emily Boegheim profile

2016

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Number of Reviews: 3
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Me and this house have sort of a Shining thing going on., January 13, 2016
by Wade Clarke (Sydney, Australia)
Related reviews: TADS

The visiting of an open house is an activity eminently suitable for simulation by parser game. In Home Open, you're a prospective owner-renovator checking out a two-storey home. You get to observe the arrangement of rooms, jot critical shorthand notes about the furnishings on your pad, which is fun (NOTE BEDSTEAD) and generally poke around in a state of mild suspicion. Then comes unusualness though some of the pre-unusualness prose sneaks through.

Home Open develops with a sense of mounting mystery, but I found the outcome to be too ambiguous for a satisfying pay-off. To its credit, the outcome prompted me to re-enter the game to seek out more information (did I miss something? I don't think I did). When I couldn't find anything new, I sat back and thought 'Hm,' my eyes focussing on a point slightly beyond the pane of the screen.

A few of the game's inaccessible props and portals don't yield to other obvious objects to which one might hope they would. e.g. A conspicuously interesting place that's too dark to see into still can't be seen into after obtaining a light source. Are the game's slice-of-life qualities looking for a fight with typical adventure game behaviours, and with prop-puzzle pairings like the light and the hole? Home Open is confusing like this, because sometimes the slice-of-life wins very decidedly and sometimes the classic adventure game puzzles win very decidedly.

Sometimes in life, a sideboard is just a sideboard. But ultimately, Home Open didn't radiate as much drama or explanation as I wanted, or as I felt it signalled it would.