When it comes to VR horror games, many games sadly fall short in their quest to be truly scary, and instead just aim to give players a few good jump scares before unraveling pretty fast. Many games opt to go all-in on scares, and don’t deliver on what makes something truly scary: an overwhelming sense of dread. In Home Sweet Home’s case, however, you’re not just given some good scares, but are also constantly filled with that feeling of terror throughout the game, which already makes this Thai horror title worth the time.
Developed by Yggdrazil Group, a Thai visual effects company, Home Sweet Home was released last year as a non-VR PC title before getting the virtual reality treatment, which honestly seems to have made the game even more exhilarating. While you can play the game without a VR headset still on PS4, its style of play and surprisingly great looking atmosphere make it that much scarier once you strap yourself into a PSVR. Home Sweet Home tell the tale of Tim, a man who wakes up in a strange place after what seems to have been a night out drinking. As you begin to explore the strange building you find yourself in, it doesn’t take too long for some creepy stuff to start happening.
Though the plot — which shouldn’t take more than six or so hours — might be lost on some people who don’t choose to explore, Home Sweet Home actually offers a surprisingly deep amount of backstory. From the start, it appears that you’re searching for your missing wife, Jane, but in typical horror game fashion, things begin to unravel in frightening ways until you find yourself in the middle of a story that draws from various Thai myths and legends, all designed to freak you out as much as possible.
As far as gameplay goes, don’t expect anything too different from Home Sweet Home, who borrows heavily from past horror titles like the canceled P.T. demo and Outlast series. You’ll find yourself exploring a surprisingly good looking set of rooms, with some sort of light (be it a flashlight or candle) and some other tool to defend yourself. Much like other horror titles, you’ll also be able to find and collect various odds and ends, such as newspaper clippings or diary entries, that expand the story and give some more context as to what exactly is going on in.
When it comes to the world of VR, the number one key to any title is the immersion factor, and Home Sweet Home actually manages to accomplish that thanks to its incredible sound design. Not only is sound so important for a virtual reality game, it’s probably the most important factor in any horror experience. You need things like ambient noises, growls, or simple things like footsteps and silence to feel a certain way in order to draw you in for when the big scares occur. Thankfully, Home Sweet Home has no problem with this, as the sound in the game is likely its best facet.
In Home Sweet Home, Yggdrazil Group does an amazing job of sprinkling various ambient noises throughout the game that will keep you on edge. Couple that with the sounds of the box cutter that the main demonic entity — a ghastly looking woman — carries, and it all makes for a genuinely unsettling experience. One moment in particular saw me slowly moving down a near pitch black corridor and listening for the distinct sound of the knife, and for a brief moment, I was completely sucked into the game and what was happening.
Despite doing a bunch of things right, Home Sweet Home is certainly not without issues. The puzzles found throughout aren’t anything too difficult, and seem to be thrown in just to keep you playing for a bit longer rather than having any sort of real tie to the game, though that feeling fades pretty quickly when you’re rushing to solve one as a demon is trying to kill you. Elsewhere, the game does a poor job of guiding the player, so expect to be stuck in the same room looking for clues or figuring out how to get past an enemy for some time.
Like many VR titles, Home Sweet Home can at times feel like its VR mode is simply a tacked on bonus to an otherwise pretty entertaining game. Unlike other titles, however, Home Sweet Home manages to add enough to the mode to make it something that all PSVR owners should try out. Though it has its issues, the eerie atmosphere, incredible sound design, and surprisingly unique theme of the game make it one of the better horror experiences that I’ve had on the PSVR. If you’re into atmospheric horror and looking for something to scare you this month, then this is definitely worth a try.
Home Sweet Home is now available on PS4 with optional PSVR support for $29.99 and on Steam only as a non-VR PC title for $16.99. Read our Game Review Guidelines for more information on how we arrived at this score.