Genre:   Adventure

Developer & Publisher:  Lucky Pause

Released:  May 2015

PC Requirements:  

  • OS: WindowsXP SP3 or higher
  • Processor: Dual core 2.0 GHz
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Video card with 512MB of VRAM
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Hard Drive: 2 GB available space
  • Keyboard required for one puzzle mechanic



by flotsam



Lucky Pause

Solitary, thoughtful, melancholic – tick those boxes in a game and you will have me interested. Wake me up in a dilapidated building with no idea what to do and I am probably hooked. Three hours or so later I wasn’t disappointed.

It is clear that the floating fragment of a child’s drawing is your first objective, but then it’s up to you. As you move through the building, opening some doors, finding others locked, you will be able to rummage through drawers and cupboards, filing cabinets and shelves, and “read” all manner of notes, books and articles. Or at least you could if the language was deciphered. More of that later.

You will eventually discover your objective, at least in terms of progressing the game, and it will recur, albeit in different ways. In between, you sleep, but will wake in the night to a very different environment. The building is the same, but the “rules” are different, and the objective here is simple – get out of your bed and avoid the dark and oily shapes emanating from the floor that will return you to sleep, and “unlock” a path that was otherwise closed to you. Do that, and you will wake refreshed, back in the daylight, with another part of the building now accessible.

It did take me a little while to work this out the first time I woke, as well as the “how” of the black shapes. The axe in my hand suggested some force was inevitable, but it wasn’t brought to bear on the shapes. While it feels a little actiony, take the time to work out what is going on, and pay attention to things around you. Once you have it sorted, it doesn’t even really amount to nuisance value.

There aren’t a lot of puzzles, nor are there a lot of items to collect, but there are a lot of things to “do”. I mentioned the rummaging, and as well as notes you will find photos and other remnants of those who were here before, and they have  stories to tell. The biggest puzzle involves deciphering the language, and when that is done the stories become accessible. I was intrigued enough to go back over old ground to start reading what was previously hidden, and a number of themes and events were revealed.  Needless to say, this included homesickness.

None were resolved, at least not in the sense that everything was neatly tied up and explained. The end, which I did find a bit abrupt, left me wondering about many things. It wasn’t at all unsatisfying however, in part because of how much I enjoyed my time in the building.

You also don’t have to do everything. At least one puzzle, involving a piano, remained unsolved. I didn’t avoid it; rather, I got to the end and hadn’t done it. So too you don’t have to crack all the filing cabinets (although there is one you do have to open) and many of the things you look at provide depth rather than progression. Indeed, probably only about three notes are required reading, but you would miss a lot if you simply did what was necessary.

Homesick is a rich and detailed world, wonderfully crafted, largely monochromatic, but punctuated by colour here and there. You have freedom of movement in every direction, with 360 degree panning, and coupled with the first person perspective, it’s the best way to create that immersive “I am actually here” feel.

The game is played using the keyboard to walk around, although you “steer” with the mouse, which is also my preferred way of perambulation. The mouse is used to explore the world, and the mouse wheel cycles through your inventory. Left click to use, right click to put away. Its simple and all it needs to be.

There is no spoken word, appropriate ambient sound, and a moody and sultry soundtrack. Near as I could tell, each time you open a new part of the building, the track changes. They are evocative pieces, featuring piano and cello, and saturate your meanderings with just the right blend of hope and sadness. There is a tinge of fear involved as well, and a more overt, albeit brief, horrific punctuation, but it would be wrong to think this is any sort of frightening adventure.

Homesick played to my strengths, and it has also been a while since I played such a game, so I was probably predisposed to like it. Nonetheless, it does what it does with style, managed to feel fresh in doing so, and I was very well pleased. Take the time to soak up what it offers, and you should be too.

Grade: A minus

I played on:

OS: Windows 7

Processor: Intel i7-3820 4GHz

RAM: 12GB Ripjaw DDR3 2133 Mhz

Video card: AMD Radeon HD 7800 2048MB


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