I’m all for short games. I think they have their place in the ecosystem. There’s something about the almost instant gratification that’s hard to describe, like an Elvis song, or an Edgar Allan Poe poem.
It’s also a very hard craft to master, despite what one might think at first: you don’t have 10 or 100 hours to develop character arcs, and build an emotional attachment with the players.
I like good short games so much, that I recently gave the harrowing “Actual Sunlight” a glowing review not long ago.
Maybe that’s why I don’t mind that “Three Fourths Home” is about an hour long. Maybe it’s because the older I get, the less time I have to play, so a short game suits my schedule better.
But I think I like this game, quite simply, because it’s a fantastic story.
You are Kelly, driving under a torrential downpour. You establish a phone conversation with your family, and while it all starts lightheartedly fun, the conversation quickly turn to very adult, mature and serious themes, such as alcoholism, mental health and of course, family issues.
The dialog is so well crafted, it’s a shame that the game is not narrated. In fact, I found out about TFH because I watched a Let’s Play by Colin Moriarty and Greg Miller (you can watch that here), and I really missed hearing people tell this fantastic story.
Stories, I should say, as Kelly’s brother Ben tells a fantastic story to Kelly during their phone conversation, a completely made up story, that is actually as good as Tim Schafer’s “Broken Age“.
There isn’t really that much in terms of gameplay, and I find the use of the rear touchpad unnecessary (thankfully you can turn this off in favor of a pure button control scheme). You simply advance the story, and choose from a couple of dialog options here and there.
But, this is not really a “game”. This is an interactive short story, and if you realize this going in, it can be a very fulfilling experience. It’s not a AAA shooter, and it doesn’t need to be, to be good.
The graphics look great, though. I like their minimalism. I’ve been a fan of grey lately, too.
My only complaint, and the reason I’m rating this a 7 instead of an 8 or higher, is that for such a short story, they tried to cram so much into it, that it feels like there’s too many lose cables by the end of it.
I know that, to some extent, that was the intention. The suddenness of loss. But I feel like some angles, like Kelly’s failed romantic relationships, could have been explored further.
All in all, for $4.99, you can immerse yourself in a world that will make you re-think your priorities in life. And hell, that’s a hell of a deal compared to my last therapist.
“Three Fourths Home” is not perfect, and it’s definitely not for everyone. But if you are part of the niche market of people who would enjoy an experience like this, then [bracket] Games’ Vita prima opus is well worth considering.
- Title: Three Fourths Home
- Publisher: [Bracket] Games
- Developer: [Bracket] Games
- Format: PSN Download
- Cross Buy: Yes
- Cross Play: N/A
- Cross Save: N/A
- Memory Card Space Needed: 620Mb