Playing No Longer Home was difficult. It has been equally as difficult to write this review. Unfortunately for me, I hated my time at University. My depression only got worse and I was often very alone. By the time my final few weeks rolled around, I fell into one of the worst depressions of my life. I came to the stark realisation that real life, the impending doom that no one prepares you for, was suddenly upon me. I neither felt ready nor content with leaving. There was so much I hadn’t accomplished. I didn’t do all the things I’d hoped to, lived the lives I’d wished to live, been the person I’d swore I’d be.
In those final few weeks, I reflected on my time at University. I thought about how I’d wished I’d done things differently, and how scared I was of moving forward. My experience was a painful one and a memory that haunts me to this day. So, what does any of this have to do with No Longer Home? Well, No Longer Home is a game all about the dreary drudgery of student life. It is also an allegory for the unfortunate abandonment of students once they’ve finished. It is about understanding to accept your place in a world that doesn’t seem to want you. No Longer Home is a game that I resonated with on an unparalleled level. It was both a sombre yet sobering experience. Despite the difficulty of reliving that part of my life, I’m glad I experienced this artistic masterpiece.
“No Longer Home’s narrative is a perfectly crafted tableau vivant.”
No Longer Home is an incredible exploration of the impermanence of life. It is a beautiful reflection of the unshakable melancholy we feel when contemplating time and its ephemeral nature. Its narrative is deeply rooted in one of the most apprehensive and uncertain times in a person’s life: the end of education. It weaves together the emotions of precariousness and unpredictability with an almost transcendent sense of surreality. No Longer Home simultaneously interweaves a devastating story of loss and irresolution with a heartwarming tale of love and moving on.
All of this is to say that No Longer Home’s narrative is a perfectly crafted tableau vivant. It is a distressingly accurate window into the world of this generation’s hapless youth. At times, it is a solemnly sombre experience to play through this all-too-brief hour-long game. But that doesn’t mean it is without hope or optimistic anticipation. Despite its symbolic rotting fruit, soul-sucking inner demons, allegorical video games and heartbreaking farewells, No Longer Home remains an entirely uplifting title. Based on the developer’s genuine experiences, its grounding in reality allows it to be elevated beyond a frivolous attempt to encapsulate a feeling so intimately personal.
“Ultimately I think No Longer Home is best played by those seeking affirmation that they’re not alone.”
Beyond its highly resonant narrative, No Longer Home is a genuinely captivating experience. Its use of abstract imagery and an almost theatre-like approach to the staging of each location helps elevate the themes of uncertainty and disquietude. The philosophical discussions had by the various characters that float in and out of the protagonists’ lives are injected with a deeper sense of meaning and personality due to the inclusion of player choice. Sure, sitting back and watching the lives of Ao and Bo would have been interesting in and of itself. But having the ability to insert oneself into the narrative by way of dialogue choices allows it to become a more personal and evocative experience.
Ultimately I think No Longer Home is best played by those seeking affirmation that they’re not alone. In this plague-ridden world where our past, present and futures are being shaped by the incompetence of those in control, it is easy to succumb to the sentiment we are helpless. While No Longer Home won’t fix that, it will certainly offer perspective in a time where our reality no longer aligns with our understanding of how the world works.
I could go into more depth about its story, symbolism and systems. I could even do a 10,000-word breakdown and analysis of the themes, visuals and world present in No Longer Home. But I strongly believe that all of it should be left unspoiled for now. It is honestly best for you to experience it for yourselves.
*Disclaimer: Reviewed on PC, code was provided by the Publisher.