Guns! Explosions! GORE! None of that shows up in Three Fourths Home: Extended Edition, a short work of interactive fiction that’s now available on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. This is a more meditative game, a sort of walking simulator – only without the walking, if you’ll excuse my use of the term.
What we’ve got here is essentially a visual novel. Our protagonist, Kelly, is driving home through a Nebraska snowstorm while talking to her family on the phone. I suppose that makes it a driving simulator rather than a walking simulator, but Forza Motorsport this isn’t. She’s moving back home after failing to do so well on her own, and the majority of the trip is spent in a conversation with her mother.
The part of the drive that we see is relatively short and during the conversation you’re able to make decisions on what Kelly says. The choices you make pop up organically as they become relevant to the conversation. There’s little meaningful interaction outside of this, so you’re basically watching the whole way through. There’s also a short playable epilogue after the main story, though you’re able to skip this entirely and may even do so by accident.
It’s difficult to discuss in detail what occurs during the game as it’s meant to be experienced, but the lightest description I can give is that it’s about regrets and might-have-beens and how we deal with them. This extended edition of the game includes a few extras like a short story and a photo essay, both of which are interesting glimpses into the characters’ psyches. As for the presentation, it’s minimalistic, and that’s being generous; you’ve got the car, the Nebraskan countryside and loads of rain. There’s no voice acting, so prepare to read.
I find it difficult to review this type of game, in part because there isn’t much to it in terms of gameplay and – honestly – because it’s not the kind of thing I often play. Three Fourths Home: Extended Edition touches on some rough topics, as indie games enjoy doing, so it’s a little heavier than my usual fare and I can’t say I was especially fond of that. I typically leave this kind of game to my colleagues Josh Boykin or Grayson Hamilton, but I suppose it’s nice to step out of one’s comfort zone every now and then. I can see the value of games like this, and it certainly does what it sets out to do, so it’s got my recommendation to people who are into minimally interactive games of this sort.