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A jam submission

Stay HomeView game page

What will it take you to open the door?
Submitted by Bleak Grey — 1 day, 8 hours before the deadline
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Stay Home's itch.io page

Results

CriteriaRankScore*Raw Score
Community Choice#84.3204.320

Ranked from 25 ratings. Score is adjusted from raw score by the median number of ratings per game in the jam.

Judge feedback

Judge feedback is anonymous.

  • So, Stay Home. This is a narrative game that tells a story about someone who's mostly unable to go outside, and positions itself as a 'Gone Home'-a-like. You can kill a good amount of time going along for the ride with this game. That amount of time will depend a little bit on how lucky you get with doing the right things at the right times, and if you can assail that hurdle, you can have a pleasant enough experience with this otherwise well executed game whose heart is in the right place.

    Liked

    • Nice aesthetics & design to the flat, and interaction with the world.
    • Story can hold your interest & is considerate.
    • Menu structure and progress shortcuts are really great.

    Needs Work

    • Theme use seems pretty marginal.
    • Need to have a way to avoid road blocking the player.
    • Narrative's tone seems erratic and may push people out of the story.

    So. Firstly I'm afraid it's going to be, for the usage of the 'sequel' theme, it's all too easy to imagine renaming the game and the link to Gone Home being mostly, well, gone - it doesn't really lift enough aspects from Gone Home to tell a 'wrong' story, so, I don't know that it really hits the target aimed for - it almost seems too honest? Secondly, this game was all about the story and leading you on an experience. But, it risks roadblocking the player behind hidden object puzzles - I would not be surprised if a good number of people got completely stuck on one (or both) of the two big puzzles. Finding a way to offer more guidance in these situations, and in general, would probably be a big improvement, as great narrative games will get you on the hook and keep the story moving.

    I got a weird vibe with the story from around the midway point of the game, from the anti-gift stage onwards? The dialogue between the characters made me feel less and less familiar with them as they talked more about events that we knew little about. I'm left wondering if you weren't quite sure where you wanted to take the story, and the tone specifically. The game leans hard into the fantastical rendering of the player's condition with the chair nightmare on Tuesday, but you don't see that again. I'd been getting the impression that the player character was doing strange things that the player wasn't aware of in the time gaps, giving a broken narrative that would culminate somehow, but that wasn't a plot thread at all. I feel maybe some of the story could be trimmed down/adjusted, especially long text message sequences that pin you in place - making them part of the UI so you could go do things might be a good idea, although I did like them in the world too.

    So that's two big paragraphs based on the problems I feel this game has. I do wanna say though that you built a great shell - main menu, jumping to specific days, credits etc. The music choices were fine. The game has a good, consistent look, and the sounds, once you know what they mean, draw your attention as needed. Functionally, it's pretty much all there. Most of the areas I'd suggest you address are unfortunately related to the story, which is what this game pins itself on almost entirely. This is a really good base to carry that story, but, I think you need to iterate on the way you tell it - if you can refine it a bit more, I think you'll have a really solid item for your portfolio.

Elevator pitch
So I suppose you want to ask me what happened to you. If you could change one thing, it certainly would be just opening the front door.

Patience is known for being tired, but someday it has to happen. It's a nice sunny day outside and you're running late for your classes. What will it take you to try again today?

Describe how your game adheres to the theme
This game can be considered as an unwanted sequel of Gone Home. On a more abstract level, it deals with unpleasant recurrent events which the main protagonist tries to cope with.

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Comments

(+1)

This game felt like an earnest attempt at portraying the suffernig felt from certain kinds of mental illness and for that I feel this was a fantastic job. Great aesthetics, game played smooth enough, great sound and poignant writing.

Unfortunately I ran out of patience with the game after I could not find the blue pills for the life of me. This was especially frustrating as I really wanted to explore this game more but those infernal blue pills were the barrier I could not cross.

To remedy this, I suspect the game is going to need some kind of signposting or hint-giving if the player is lost for a while. Maybe the protagonist magically remembers something that might help the player after a certain amount of time has passed. 

Submitted(+1)
Pros:
  • Very pretty visually and aurally
  • Long enough game to where nothing feels rushed and it has time to communicate well
  • Gives gravity to the message without pompousness or pretention
Cons:
  • The tasks on Friday are unintuitive and required looking up solutions from other players
  • Small buggy or unaccounted for behaviour
  • Theme adherence is iffy
Here & There:

I really enjoyed this, it's a pretty little game that uses the "walking simulator" gameplay to communicate a message and convey issues plenty of people can relate to. The chosen music is very Life is Strange and fits well, the small animations on objects like the plants are quite nice, and the lighting effects are used to great effect such as with that section with the chair. When I didn't know how to  turn off the alarm clock I instinctively threw it and I think I managed to throw it hard enough on my first attempt that it just clipped through the wall and flew into oblivion. I do not know if this was intended. Some polish especially for the actions on Friday would have been nice, because I became lost after cleaning the more obvious items. If the solution wasn't in the same room as the object it was impractical to think the player would know where to take it. The only other feedback I can think of are syntactical errors in the text ("haven't" should be "hadn't"), but that's quite minor, and that I would have appreciated more surreal imagery or explorations such as that night with the chair. I never played Gone Home so I don't know if the themes of this are referential to that or if the sequel aspect is more of a gameplay thing. Very well done.

Submitted

This game has a really wonderful feel to it.  It's got a lot of heart, and you can really feel the weight of the protagonist's problem, how when there's something indescribably wrong with an aspect of your life that you take for granted, it can feel so... crushing.  And Sam really comes off as a supportive friend.  Stepping into the protagonist's role, I appreciated that.

The only real problems I had were occasional vagueness in what to do, but I was typically able to figure things out.  Still, I wouldn't have guessed that the laptop belonged on the guest room bed when tidying up.  That one really threw me for the longest time.

Also, the adherence to the theme is pretty thin, but that's about it.

It was a really nice game, a touching little story.

Also, more freaky hallucination scenes, please!

I love the sleek, polished graphics style and the beautifully coherent palette. Great idea to show off the main approach to puzzle solving via easy to follow instructions early on (the pie baking). Sadly I'm a motion sickness scrub and tend to get dizzy from the teeny tiny FOV unless playing in very short bursts, but I hope I'll be able to finish eventually.

Submitted

Presentation is really nice. Great use of low-poly to make a coherent style. The texting thing is especially nice. Loved that the game commented on my dropping the plant off the balcony.

Unfortunately I ended up quitting after getting frustrated on the second day without being able to figure out what I was supposed to do without being reset at the start after a dozen tries. Some better hints to the player at what is supposed to happen would really help. I wanted to know where it was going but I felt like I just kept running into a wall without knowing why.

Submitted

Solid game! The interior is really detailed and awesome. It feels like a real place, almost. The UI for the texting segments is well done, and the puzzles are neat. 

I don't think the game is helped by the "find an object" sections, though. It can be a little tedious to be searching and searching and searching for an object. I eventually had to give up in the second day because I was looking for some doodad for 5 minutes. I say you should implement some kind of "The user is taking too long to find this.." timer which would then project a highlight on the object that goes through walls. So if the user has spent 1 minute (1 minute might even be too long) looking for a pill bottle, it gets "lit up" through the walls and physics objects. 

I also thought the theme was a little weak. I didn't read your "How does it adhere to the theme" blurb until after I had already played, so I didn't see the connection to Gone Home, really. 

Submitted

Pretty good. Nice and clean, well put together. I wouldn't call it fun but I can't fault it for anything.

Developer

Well fun is subjective, so it's okay :)