You best put on a couple of pairs of adult diapers in preparation as Home Sweet Home is one of the most intense PlayStation VR compatible horror games released to date, and it’s ready to take you on an experience you’ll never forget. Home Sweet Home is published by Mastiff LLC and developed by Yggdrazil Group, a visual effects company primarily working on film post-production. It’s also the developers first venture into game development, and it’s a really strong first start.
The game was originally planned for mobile devices but they decided to develop for the PC market and released it on Steam back in September last year. The game launched to great reviews, especially when they added VR capabilities, so they chose to release it on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in Spooktober 2018.
Home Sweet Home is a first-person survival horror puzzle game. It’s fully playable, from start to end, within VR via both the PSVR or a PC VR headset. This can be confusing for people looking to purchase the game on the PlayStation Store because it looks like it’s only a VR title. While I would recommend fans of horror games try the game in that mode, it is NOT necessary to have the headset, you can play the game perfectly fine without VR and still have a very intense experience.
The story can be somewhat confusing for people that choose not to bother with picking up the assorted journal entries laying around. There are also newspaper clippings as well as radio broadcasts which offer a lot of exposition regarding what’s going on. These are crucial to understanding what is happening in the game as there is a very deep story hidden within these objects. At the beginning of the game our protagonist, Tim, wakes up and it seems like he’s maybe had a bit too much to drink the night before. You leave the starting area in search of Jane, your wife, and this leads to you trying to find out where you are before hell breaks loose (very quickly).
You have no methods of attacking enemies as the only item you have is a flashlight which you use in dark areas. Any kind of encounters you have will lead you to a game of “hide and seek” essentially, although you pray the ‘seek’ part doesn’t happen! You don’t encounter a wide variety of enemies. In fact, there are only 3 in the entire game. There are these creatures that act as watchers that will scan an area for you and if you’re spotted, they will let out a loud noise for the main enemy in the game to locate and eventually slaughter you.
The main antagonist is a very creepy looking Asian teenage girl which has the looks to give you nightmares. She is all cut up with blood all over her body. Think Zombie meets Ghost meets Teenage Asian girl. She carries around a knife and can let out a scream which will send chills down your spine. Once she spots you, you have to RUN LIKE HELL because if she catches you, there’s a high probability you’ll die immediately. Sometimes you will go into a struggle mode with her where you need to spam the X button so you can knock her down and barely make it out alive, which is a relief but also not guaranteed. This gives you a brief amount of time to try and get away and hide.
If you can get close to her while she is just roaming around, you can hear her talk. She doesn’t have many phrases, but what she does say is downright creepy, you get the sense that something really bad happened to her. When playing in VR, this is the creepiest part of the game. I found that her AI was actually very well done, but on a few occasions, she got “stuck” and would continually walk into a wall or a desk. If anything, this was a nice break from how tense the game is and gave me a good laugh.
The last enemy you will encounter is a massive humanoid looking creature who’s the size of a building! This leads to some pretty tense moments even if he is only in the game for a brief amount of time, which I found to be semi-disappointing. You can kinda figure out what and potentially who he is, via the newspaper clippings, but this is never clarified.
Home Sweet Home is pretty short, sadly. I was able to complete the game in about 6 hours with heavy exploration. Although, if you opt to play the game 100% in VR mode, this could be longer due to the creepy-factor; and anything above 5 hours for a VR title is great in my books. Upon completing the game, you discover that this is only the first chapter in what is a planned series. I felt like Yggdrazil Group would’ve benefited from being upfront with gamers and announcing this was a series as most people, myself included, felt like this was an isolated game. Although, I am not mad about more content further down the line.
25 minutes of gameplay (no spoilers):
Home Sweet Home is definitely a game that Horror fans do not want to skip on, especially if you own a VR headset. It provided me with genuinely delicious scares which were more often than not actual scares due to the creepiness rather than cheap jump scares. The story was also interesting enough that I’m now eagerly awaiting an update on Chapter 2 so I can go and buy some more diapers and jump back in!
The graphics, ambient music and lighting kept me glued to the game all the way to the intense ending, despite the sheer terror I had whilst playing. Standard PS4, Xbox One and PC gamers are in for a treat with Home Sweet Home but PSVR and PC VR gamers are guaranteed nightmares as the VR adds a whole new level of horror into the mix!