Itching For More: Homesickened

Every Wednesday, from now until forever, I’m going to write about a small art game/walking simulator/whatever-you-want-to-call-them I’ve played, primarily (but not only) sourced from itch.io. Here is the first in what I hope to be a weekly column:

Homesickened is a small game about irrational fears by Snapman. The premise is simple: You’re revisiting somewhere from your past that you have strong memories of.

The first thing that hits you is the art direction. It’s in 4 colour CGA and is gorgeous. Not only does this help emphasise the message of the game, it is really really lovely to look at. The four colours (Pink, Blue, Black and White) make the town you visit feel distinctly alien, despite the recognisable structures. Complementing the art style, the game performs like old games, with a purposeful frame rate making it feel almost like a slideshow, everywhere you go must be purposeful rather than wandering, the awkwardness of the movement making you give yourself goals to get to.

Homesickened explores the often untalked about opposite of homesickness — the feeling of not wanting to come home. The main character, having clearly made a life for him outside of this town is ashamed of his former self and is fearing being judged by his former actions, the fear that everything you left is still there or that it’s changed for the worse.

Whilst I loved the short experience Homesickened provided, the main weakness of it is the awkwardness of movement. Unable to move diagonally, you must stop before turning. Yes, this makes the town feel distinctly awkward and not like home, but it also becomes slightly tedious. Homesickened is also centred around three different puzzles, two of which were fairly simple, but the second was rather more obtuse. If you need help, I’d recommend checking these tweets.

Overall, Homesickened is an experience that accurately portrays the fears of going home. Will my mistakes still be remembered? Will people still judge me for my former self? Have things changed unrecognisably? Have some things stayed completely the same? It’s so short that it is well worth checking out.

Homesickened is a free game, available from here.

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