What Remains of Edith Finch 😭 Video Game Review


 

Written by Thelonia


There's a curse on the Finches. From mysterious murders to bath-time accidents to strange disappearances, the family is just unlucky in life (and, more often, death). In this 2017 game from developers Giant Sparrow, you play as Edith Finch, a young girl who returns to her childhood home to uncover the secrets of her family - and to maybe understand the family curse once and for all.

If there's anything I love in the world, it's a sad video game that I can play, enjoy, cry at, and then think about for weeks afterwards. So really, What Remains of Edith Finch really fits the ticket on pretty much all those levels.

It is an excellent game that will appeal to those who enjoy a real narrative-based game that has a strong emphasis on aesthetics with a dark sense of humor and a quirky style. If that sounds like something you'd be interested in, check it out if you want to play it and don't want to be spoiled going into it, because we are about to get to the nitty gritty of the game: the plot.



GAME SPOILERS BELOW

You start off the game on a boat. The title lurks over the misty hills surrounding the lake you're crossing on a ferry. In your hands (one of which is wrapped in a plaster cast), you hold a bouquet of Calla Lillies and a diary. As you open the book, you get transported by the voiceover - Edith Finch herself - to the path leading to the Finch family home.

If you think of the Weasley house first, then you're actually sort of already on track in terms of sheer whimsy.

You are now playing as Edith, returning to the family home she left behind at 11. From the very beginning it is clear that things with the family did not end well, as you find missing posters of a young child in the woods you have to cross to get to the house (the posters are for Edith's missing brother).

If you think I'm not the kind of player to crouch every time I ran into one
of these to try to read as much as possible, then you don't know me as a person.

From there, you go to the house, where you discover (through the ever-present narration) that the doors have been sealed shut by Edith's mother Dawn (pay attention to the names, there are a fair amount of them and they're all important in their way), in an effort to block out the past tragedies that plague the family.

Though there's always the menu page to remind you of who's who.
(Take notes, this family gets complicated)

The one room whose door is left conveniently ajar is empty, apart from a book which conceals, of course, a secret entrance; and with that discovery, the hidden tunnels and passages between the rooms soon become your doors into the world of the Finches. Each room holds the story of a member of the family who passed, and contains playable sequences wherein, through descriptions of their deaths (sometimes written my themselves, sometimes from other's perspectives).

Each tale is unique to the character narrating it, with ages ranging from the middle-age to infancy, and each bring their particular character to both the writing and the style of the small scenes, each containing a goal for you to accomplish (sometimes as simple as swinging all the way around on a swing). One of the more elaborate sequence has you use your fine motor skills to chop fish all while playing an entire mini-game in the corner of the screen (it makes sense in context). 

There is also a part at the end where you get born out the narrator's vagina, which was also pretty wild.

This is an excellent game, a beautiful story, and I definitely think I will be replaying in the future. However, it does play very fast, so my final takeaway might end up being like that of the similar Gone Home: if you know this kind of game is not going to appeal to you, I wouldn't spend the money, but if you enjoy a good short story and want to completely immerse yourself in this world with not a lot (and yet, maybe too much) internal logic, then I highly recommend What Remains of Edith Finch. And please, come back and tell us if you cry, I don't want to be alone the only one, come on guys.


What Remains of Edith Finch is available on Amazon & Steam and is only playable on Windows as of now.

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