Homesick is reminiscent of both Dear Esther and Fatal Frame—the beauty of the environment plays a crucial role in the player’s experience, while it can just as easily betray them. It is an adventure game that is inspired by Monkey Island and Myst, and hopes to bring cutting-edge graphics to the genre along with its compelling story. The development team is probably most notable because of its office manager, Argon the dog, but the other two members are pretty impressive as well. The creative director of the game worked for nine years in the CG film industry as well as one year in the video games industry, and his co-directed film Grounded ended up landing quite a few awards. The communications director is also an attorney by day, working for a non-profit organization, and is spreading the word about their game and company wherever she can. While they have very little experience outside of their respective fields, they ended up creating a unique game because of it.
You play as a caretaker of an abandoned building, spending the first portions of the game exploring the building and solving puzzles within. When you sleep, you’re plagued by nightmares of trying to escape, and the building you live in becomes filled with darkness. While there is very little of the plot revealed, I imagine that the main character is the ghost of an old man, haunting either a hospital or psych ward long after the building has fallen into disarray. Of course, that’s pure speculation. There’s plenty of room for interesting twists in this kind of plot, and the tranquility of the over world will make it unique from other games no matter which course the developers take with the story.
Although the game sells itself as a puzzle game, the closest thing we see to a puzzle in the trailer is the main character sticking some kind of panel to the wall. Seeing more of these puzzle elements would convince me to buy the game immediately, but in the meantime, I will think of it as a slightly more interactive Dear Esther (which isn’t too bad, but could certainly be elaborated upon). Seeing more of the danger that lurks in the night would also be interesting—the game posits itself as an adventure game, after all.
The graphics and lighting are perfect, which is to be expected from an expert artist working with Unreal. The piano score is also very beautiful, fitting for both the peaceful day scenes of the trailer as well as the terrifying nightmare sequences. That kind of soundtrack can sell a game all by itself, but here it works hand-in-hand with an intriguing plot and advanced graphics. The budget they are asking for is much smaller than one would expect for a game of its caliber, so I can only hope it doesn’t end up too short. In any case, this game is bound to be a keeper and I look forward to seeing how it turns out. If you’re interested in supporting Homesick, be sure to donate to their Kickstarter fund!