Title: Three Fourths Home Extended Edition
Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, Mobile (reviewed on Xbox One)
Developer: Bracket Games
Publisher: Bracket Games
Release Date: Out Now
Price: $5.99/5.99 Euro
Tagline: An interesting premise for certain, but questionable as a game
Family Friendly: Click here to read more
Verdict: Wait for a Sale
It is easy to look at Three Fourths Home as a simple mobile title with questionable roots as a video game. I can even see the view of those that question the idea of Three Fourths Home being released on a console. I mean, is this even a video game by any standard? Honestly, does the argument even matter if the player is engrossed in the story? These questions may never be appropriately answered in the confines of this review, but Three Fourths Home is now out on home consoles and it is an interesting experiment to be certain, however, that may not hold true over an extended period of time.
As you start Three Fourths Home, you have nothing to go on. You are presented with a simple interface: a woman standing outside of a car and a received phone call. From there, you progress forward on a journey of self-exploration while you drive a car home to your parents’ house during a violent, relentless storm.
It is during this journey that Three Fourths Home presents its core concepts, which is driving you through a narrative phone call. We know our main character is Kelly, who is on her way home, driving back from her grandparents’ house. But we don’t really know much more than that. This is why the phone call mechanic is so important to the experience, as it drives your knowledge of what is happening with all parties involved.
It is a simple idea, where you have the discussion points of a multi-party phone call on the left hand side of the screen while you make choices for Kelly, which will move the story forward. Maybe you harp on your dad’s alcoholic self-medication, or you hold back and say nothing. Each decision pushes the player in different directions, expanding the knowledge you might have on the family drama.
While all of these choices and dialog are playing out on the bottom fold of the screen, the top shows off a sparse landscape of a car moving forward on a road, with Kelly driving towards her parents’ house. It is a striking visual style, shown in stark whites and shades of grey with a car on the road, whipping past cornfields and the occasional landmark that judges your distance to the family abode.
There is a strange mechanic required for playing through the narrative of Three Fourths Home and that would be that the game requires you to hold the right trigger down during the entire length of your gameplay session. Basically, holding down the trigger moves the car forward. Letting go, stops the vehicle and the narrative of the story, almost like some weird pause mechanic, but holding down the trigger does nothing beyond that. It is an odd choice to require someone to hold down this one trigger for up to 45 minutes for an entire gameplay session. I am sure there is an artistic vision behind the idea, but it comes off more as annoying.
The bigger issue that many will come up with for Three Fourths Home might be the very idea that it is a game at all. Sure, visual novels are all the rage on Steam, but this might be the first time a game with such limited “gameplay,” has released on a console. Sure, it has a reduced price from most of the other titles on the store, but some will have issues with a game that can be finished in about an hour at best, maybe a little longer when you factor in epilogue. Sure, there is replay value, as one might not even make it home in their first few journeys based on conversation choices, but does one want to jump right back into a title, after holding a trigger down for an hour, just to see what can be different the next time around?
How one decides to look at Three Fourths Home, whether it be game or interactive story – this should not matter. Bracket Games have put together a unique experience for everyone to enjoy. Multiple paths, interesting and stark visuals and quirky controls combine to form a concept that is part game, part choose your own adventure and it is something to behold. It won’t be for everyone, but those that take the journey will be entertained.
- Narrative takes some interesting turns
- Makes one want to find all the alternate paths
- Stark, visual style work well for the story told
- Still not sure if it is a game
- A playthough can be completed in a half hour
- Not much there after you dig through all the paths in the story
Three Fourths Home isn’t all that worrisome from a gameplay perspective, beyond a bit of foul language. However, the actual story narrative might be a bit too intense for some younger players. Things like alcoholism, family death, amputation and special needs children are discussed in a frank manner. It might be something educational for kids to experience, but maybe when they get a bit older. Keep this one for the teens and up.
This review was prepared using retail Xbox One code provided by Microsoft.