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Chloe Is Home

by KhairikaSinani


Web Site

(based on 3 ratings)
1 review

About the Story

A flatmate group chat unknowingly welcomes an uninvited guest into their midst.
Part of the Interact-If's 2022 Game Jam.
PS- This is my first game jam ever, and I'd like to thank Brushmen for offering his support. He has been integral to the completion of this project, so I would like to show my appreciation for making my first game jam experience a memorable one! 
Please do check out his profile on itch.io, he's a wonderful writer and incredibly hard-working, so show your support for him and his work.

* Team Members:
Khairika & brushmen

* Program
Custom Macros from ChapelR, Cyrus Firheir

Engine: (Twine) SugarCube v.2.36.1

* Trigger/Content Warning List:
Abuse (mental, emotional, verbal)Profanity
Writing Inspo and References

Game Details


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Number of Reviews: 1
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Pristine, February 3, 2023
by Kinetic Mouse Car
Related reviews: Horror, Twine

Horror with a bite. Poor you.

You share a flat/apartment with friends Kayleigh, Sam, and Meghane. The four of you are discussing plans for later via group chat. Meghane's cousin Chloé is supposed to meet up to join the festivities. Tonight. Her cousin is meeting up with everyone tonight. Problem: Everyone forgot. Exasperated, Meghane goes to add Chloé to the chat...

The mechanics of gameplay are simple. It takes place in a chat group environment where you tap/click the screen to see each text message as they appear in the chat. Sometimes you have opportunities to respond. For these, a menu will appear at the bottom of the screen with a list of responses.

At first all you see is causal, crowded banter. Tap, tap, tap. You are just skimming through the messages while your flatmates argue about cleaning out the fridge. Throughout the game, NPCs will switch between being on and off the chat as they do other things, triggering notifications. It really creates a chat room vibe. Soon, things kick off when Meghane’s cousin is added to the group.

In Chloe Is Home, you are a clueless little player who gets sucked right in the mess. Stay far, far away from this review until you give the game a playthrough. I’m always touchy about “preserving” the suspense, but it’s true. Want the full horror experience that comes with not knowing what is in store for you? Play it first. Otherwise, it will ruin the fun. Don't be all, "oh, reading this review will help me be more informed when I play it." NO. Play the game first.

(Spoiler - click to show) But Meghane's cousin is not the one who joins the chat... Someone else does. Technically, I think the game’s description is a super light spoiler, “A flatmate group chat unknowingly welcomes an uninvited guest into their midst,” although only a stickler will probably feel the same way. No matter. There’s still lots to discover.

Now that the cat is out of the bag, I'll just refer to fake-Chloe as the Stranger or “Chloe” under these spoiler tags. This is the crucial detail: If you take a closer look at the user, it is shown as Chloe not Chloé. See it? It's that little line about the “e.” If you totally missed it, you're not alone. For the first playthrough I assumed it was Meghane’s cousin, although it does not take long for you to have doubts.

Story + Characters
I’m going to use this section to look closer at the story’s pacing and structure which is critical for a horror game. It’s going to be one big spoiler-fest (which I’ll tag), so again, browse wisely.

Pacing is excellent. Mechanically, the game skips pause effects. The rate of text messages is based on however fast the player chooses to tap or click on the screen. And yet, there is a feel of everything speeding up. You feel out of control. The effectiveness of the pacing is achieved through staggering story events.

It closely resembles a horror movie sequence where you know what’s going to happen but see separate shots of Character A being resourceful, Character B cluelessly walking into a trap, the culprit going up the stairs where Character D has just managed to put two and two together. These shots (with other elements) are then woven together to leave you at the edge of the seat in a nervous wreck because you know exactlywhatisgoingtohappen.

Obviously, a Twine game is not going to harness the cinematic techniques used in film, but it manages to recreate this concept closely. (Spoiler - click to show)

The Stranger just keeps getting more unnerving. They inquire about you being home alone and start a game of 20 questions with prompts on your personal information or how you want to die (if you were to, that is). The zinger is when you ask a question about either their pet peeves or whether they are an introvert or extravert. Their act as Meghane’s cousin completely falls apart and they go on a rant of why they hate about people. Then, bam. “Chloe” again.

Oh, and they have your address. You gave it to them, remember?

I'm literally 5 minutes away.

Ha. Ha. Oh no.

The reason behind the Stranger’s presence in the group chat is revealed when Meghane notices that she mistyped Chloé’s (the real Chloé- again, fancy é) number. Which confirms that yes, you’ve been talking to the wrong person, and you warn your flatmates. Meghane adds the real Chloé (whom we briefly meet) and starts searching to kick out “Chloe.” And then:

Chloe changed their name to Chloé.

The Stranger won’t go down so easily. This is where the staggering of events really starts to shine.

It kicks off with the Stranger sending you a picture of the flat before asking Meghane for the code to the door. Now, your friends are a tad sluggish about your warnings because they’ve been on and off the chat for the past half hour. They don’t realize the extent of this mix-up, yet. So, seeing the fancy “e” in the altered username, Meghane assumes that the Stranger was removed from the chat. She happily shares the code.

The code is 3042!

Naturally, she realizes this mistake afterwards. The entire time the player keeps yelling, “don’t do it, don’t do it, just don’t!!!” The suspense is sharpened to a point. The sluggishness of the NPCs only heightens the urgency. Like watching characters in a horror film as they make clueless blunders right when it matters.

Meghane, Kayleigh, and Sam finally get with the program. Pacing intensifies. The Stranger narrates their movements toward the door. Everyone is panicking. One friend is calling the police. One friend is rushing home. One friend is alerting the neighbors. But despite this, you are still the only one at the flat. Then you hear a knocking sound.

An actual knocking sound effect. Followed by someone fidgeting with the door. I often forget/fail to turn on the audio for games. Half the time I don’t even notice they come with sound. But I managed to get the memo this time. It is a basic sound snippet that serves as the finishing atmospheric touch to a chilling horror game.

I’m going to switch things up and chew the fat about the story a little more. Again, more spoilers.

I was hoping for (Spoiler - click to show) more than one ending. After experimenting with multiple playthroughs, I could not find any alternatives. What frustrated me was that there is a pivotal moment in the gameplay that railroads the player into making one choice that ultimately determines the ending. This moment is when “Chloe” asks for the address to the shared flat, claiming that they lost Meghane’s instructions somewhere back in the chat. No matter what, you give it to them. And now they know where you live.

Given the dialog leading up to this point, all (or at least most) of your nerves are whispering stranger danger. Something’s off. The player feels it, and the PC feels it. You can lie about the address, dodge the question, or drag your heels, but this only leads to you having to send the address. Eventually you will.

🗨 Choose a reply
(Send it)

Throughout the game are dialog options that allow the player to tread lightly and approach this “Chloe” with skepticism. The responses involve refusing to dole out information, giving vague answers, or calling out inappropriate statements. The gameplay enables you to read between the lines. So why is it that you are ultimately forced to give out the home address?

What type of ending would I be asking for? It does not have to be a positive ending, just one that recognizes when the player goes the extra mile in assessing the Stranger’s identity. It was clever how you can catch their bluff by claiming that Meghane mentioned that they were going through a tough time without going into specifics. “Chloe” assumes that Meghane was talking about the real cousin and goes along with the charade by making something up. You then respond with skepticism that chips away at their act. I thought that if you pestered them enough, they may reveal their true colours or admit to being someone else. That would probably put the story on a different trajectory.

So… What happens? I think the PC’s chances of survival are not that dire. Then again, a character in a horror movie might say the same thing. The opening words of this game are rather ominous.

Omg, guys kill me. Shanon wants another meeting...

I have always enjoyed Twine or choice-based games that mimic a digital interface, especially personal devices. The idea is cool both visually and in terms of functionality. Sometimes though, there is the risk of this functionality being hindered by design elements like wide margins or awkward scrollbars that do not prevent you from playing but do detract from the polish. Chloe Is Home avoid this. It uses the phone interface idea without overwhelming the player with its features. Note: I love it when authors go wild as long as functionality is preserved.

This game keeps it relatively simple while adding some flair. It tastefully replicates the appearance of a smartphone device with tall but narrow screen dimensions. The borders are purple with shadowed edges that give it a more 3D resemblance. Character text bubbles are colour-coded and set against an off-white screen. A general, strong look.

Plus, some embellishments. Emojis, symbols, and even the occasional GIF!

Final thoughts
Yes, I really enjoyed Chloe Is Home. It has a lot of strengths. Pacing, suspense, clever visual design. Players, I think, will get a rush playing it. There is enough variation in the gameplay to encourage multiple playthroughs (plus, it’s a short game), but when it becomes apparent that (Spoiler - click to show) there is only one ending, players may leave it at that. Regardless, it is a high-quality piece that offers an urgency that is hard to capture in a Twine format. Highly recommended for horror fans (especially choice-based horror).

I hope the author(s) continue to produce more work. This was a great first piece.

If you are interested in any more horror chat room stories, I suggest Disharmony, a Twine game about investigating the absence of a member from your friend group via an online messenger platform by the same name. Worth playing with the lights off.

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Chloe Is Home on IFDB


The following polls include votes for Chloe Is Home:

Games which take place in chat messenger systems or on a digital interface by grimperfect
Specifically, works where the main mechanic is either exploring a in-game digital interface(ala Secret Little Haven) or communicating using a type of chat/text messenger system(think Emily is Away).

Outstanding Horror Game of 2022 - Author's Choice by MathBrush
This poll is part of the 2022 IFDB Awards. The rules for the competition can be found here, and a list of all categories can be found here. This award is for the best overall game of 2022. Voting is anonymous and open only to IFDB...

Outstanding Horror Game of 2022 - Player's Choice by MathBrush
This poll is part of the 2022 IFDB Awards. The rules for the competition can be found here, and a list of all categories can be found here. This award is for the best horror game of 2022. Voting is open to all IFDB members. Eligible...

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