Indie games have always interested me, they’re a way for an individual or team to create their own story in any way they want. Some of these ideas don’t work out so well and they are ignored, and others become praised and considered a must play.
When Three Fourths Home launched on PC earlier in 2015 it gained some recognition for being unique and just, different. This was followed by the release of Three Fourths Home: Extended Edition, which has found its way to Vita – and I’m so glad that it did.
You play as Kelly, a young girl who is only depicted as a silhouette. She picks up a guitar pick that she finds outside of a barn, gets into her car and starts to drive. It’s at this point where her phone starts to ring and the story starts to unfold.
There is no ‘gameplay’ as such in Three Fourths Home – it is, after all a visual novel – so there is a lot of reading involved as you discover what the game is all about. As heavy rainfall starts to fall from the sky, you answer the phone to your mum (a character that you’ll never meet in the game but you’ll learn so much about her before your time with the game is over), she starts off panicking, asking where you’ve been. It appears you haven’t been home for hours and didn’t tell anyone that you were going out. She starts to talk about your father, a man who’s recently gone through a tough time and has taken to drinking to get over his recent trauma.
As the narrative continues you start to assume that there is some difficulty in the relationship between Kelly’s parents, the choices that you can make during the conversation will allow you to either side with one of the parents or intervene with them, which brings me to my next major point – you can make decisions in this game which will shape the story based on what you’ve chosen.
You’ll also be introduced to Ben during the narrative, Ben (who is revealed as Kelly’s younger brother) appears to be a child with a disability. He seems rather disjointed from the surrounding events in the game but once you understand him you’ll grow to like him, or at least I did.
Going any further into the plot will most likely spoil too much of what is going on, but one thing I will say is that you’ll never actually meet any of these characters. You’re only introduced to these characters through a phone call, and this is actually one of the most outstanding things about this game.
As I said at the start of the review, indie games are a canvas for individuals to create their own story or ideas without any pressure from high end publishers to move away from their vision, and Three Fourths Home is the embodiment of this – it is an entirely unique and interesting experience, even if it can’t be classed as a game per se.
The one major upset that this game has is that it is incredibly short, even with the extra epilogue scene that is included in the extended edition the game will only take you around 45 minutes to play through. Thankfully there are several different conversation branches for you to discover which makes the game highly replayable.
The games art style is very simplistic, it is a monotoned game, but since it is a visual novel it doesn’t need to look too fancy. While the games story mostly unfolds throughout text you can see things happening on the screen whilst driving the car in the game – little details such as birds flying or locations that are mentioned in the games conversation look great and really give you a feel of the environment and lifestyle of the Nebraskan area the game is set in.
The soundtrack is also very atmospheric and interesting, it all comes through the cars radio and each song has a unique sound – making them all fit the games situation. You can also listen to the music in the extras option on the main menu, and believe me, I spent a good hour or so after finishing the game listening back to the soundtrack, it’s genuinely gorgeous.
Three Fourths Home: Extended Edition is one of the most unique titles I’ve had the opportunity to experience since I first joined The Vita Lounge and it’s an experience that will stick with me for a long time. The characters, the plot and the atmosphere are all very memorable and so unlike anything I’ve ever played before, I can surely see this being a contender for my personal game of the year.