Ever since playing Resident Evil 7 on PlayStation VR virtual reality has become my preferred way to want to experience horror games. It simply provides that feeling of isolation and unknown that you can’t get as well from playing on a traditional screen. Home Sweet Home is a new game from developer Yggdrazil Group and publisher Mastiff that is playable both in and outside of VR but I opted for the former for this review. Now let me tell you why this should be on your playlist this Halloween season.
Home Sweet Home isn’t just one of those unnerving types of games but one that hit me with a lot of scares throughout. It’s a horror title based around Thai myths where you play as a man named Tim who had a little bit too much fun the prior night and passed out drunk. The game begins in this mysterious building you find yourself in but explores other locations as well. It’s a first-person game similar to Resident Evil 7, Outlast and others and as you explore you’ll gradually piece together what exactly is going on in this story all while being terrified most of the time. There are all kinds of notes and newspapers and such to find that provide that context I spoke about for those who really want to look for them. They aren’t required but you’ll get a better understanding of the story if you gather and read them. The overall gameplay is walking around and finding and solving things. There are no weapons in the game so if that bothers you this might not be the game for you.
The scares come from the spirits that are in the game and you’ll want to avoid them as best you can. Some places you’ll need to be sneaky and hide in spots to avoid them. You find a flashlight early on and you’ll need this to find your way but just be careful that no one sees it. If they catch wind of your light they will find you so knowing how to manage it is key. If you get caught and die at any point though I found the checkpoint system to be pretty forgiving. As you progress you’ll have to solve puzzles as well which involve finding codes for locks usually. A little bit more variety on this front would’ve been welcomed. The game is longer than I thought it would be though as it took me around seven hours to finish it my first time. Suffice to say you get a lot here for your buck.
Visually, the game has some pretty good graphics to help sell you on this world that the developer created. Every environment I ended up in looked good and was fun (but terrifying all the same) to explore. There are multiple throughout and all are filled with things that will scare you. In any horror title I feel it’s important not to spoil or say too much as then someone will know what to expect and they won’t get the same experience that I did. Just know that Home Sweet Home delivers the goods when it comes to the scares. The audio work in Home Sweet Home is fantastic as well which is very important for any horror title but especially one in virtual reality. Not only is the voice acting solid but the game is full of little noises all over the place that help provide that feeling of dread and impending doom upon you. Doors closing and creaking, banging noises, and even the sound that something in particular wields are delivered so wonderfully.
The biggest issue I have with Home Sweet Home is the lack of explanation on many things. Some of those puzzles can be hard to solve sometimes due to something not being highlighted unless you look at it a certain way with the camera. The indicator telling you how to defend yourself from enemies can also be hard to see. Also puzzling is why you can’t adjust the brightness of the picture unless you go back to the main menu. It became annoying trying to get my picture right as I had to quit out to the menu and go back in three times before I got it looking how I wanted it to look. In regards to trophies/achievements there are a handful here but sadly no Platinum trophy on PlayStation. Most of the list is either story stuff or collectible based.
I will say that if you enjoyed Resident Evil 7 in VR then I think Home Sweet Home is a must play for you. It may be the scariest title I’ve played since then thanks to the solid presentation and outstanding audio work that Yggdrazil Group put in here. Being set around Thai myth also helped breathe a little originality into it as well and helped set it apart from all of the other horror titles out there. I’m not sure if it’s quite as terrifying on a traditional screen but for VR owners who want a great horror title this is a must.
*Home Sweet Home is out now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Reviewed on a PS4 Pro and PlayStation VR. Review copy provided by the publisher. See this review and all of our VR reviews on vrgamecritic.com