Wednesday, May 09, 2018

"Three Fourths Home: Extended Edition" Switch Review

Games that can be played from beginning to end in a single sitting are a rarity, and those that fit those parameters and are well executed are all but nonexistent. "Three Fourths Home: Extended Edition" is a stark exception, excelling in its minimalist presentation to hoist writing and emotion to the forefront.

The 2015 Bracket Games visual novel makes its way to the Switch, where like so many other indie sensations it feels welcome and well-tailored to Nintendo's handheld/home console hybrid. The visuals are simple black-and-white silhouette of car driving through cornfield-lined freeways.

You tap through simple dialogue trees, learning that your protagonist is an early-20s washout who has grudgingly returned to her hometown to stay with her bickering parents and troubled brother. You're on edge because a tornado alarm has gone off, on the phone in stressed conversations with the fam. As the phone rotates among the three loved ones, tensions run high and resentments bubble to the surface.

You can open up and take an apologetic, accommodating tone, stiffen and mount an indifferent, bratty stance, or hop back and forth between the two outlooks. You're not only working the dialogue tree, it' also working you. The exchange feels organic, and it's all but impossible not to infuse your own feelings and life circumstances into the exchange.

While "Three Quarters Home" offers enough branching paths to be replayable -- and completionists will no doubt return again and again to unlock the different outcomes -- I can't see it likely to enjoy the game more than you will during the initial playthrough, when you are thrown into the situation blind and lacking any preconceived notions of bending the story to your goals. A raw, often devastating experience, "Three Fourths Home" is a gripping play and a great read.
Publisher provided review code.

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