Reviews: What Remains Of Edith Finch

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`Who Builds Their Graveyard Before They Build Their House?`

What Remains of Edith Finch is the product of Annapurna, the same team behind the ongoing game series Kentucky Route Zero. They exist to show what happens to games when you stop looking at them in terms of genre and start looking at them purely in terms of a story telling medium. Kentucky Route Zero is a gorgeous, dreamy masterpiece, and Edith Finch possesses much of the same genius.

You play as Edith Finch, the last in a long line of Finches, visiting your home. Immediately you know something isn't quite normal about the setting; the Finch house is this impossibly giant, crooked, termite mound of a building, with countless extensions stacked up on-top of one another. Once inside, you are shown how you came to be the last Finch; the family is supposedly cursed, and each member has been killed off one way or another. The rest of the game involves exploring each bedroom (sealed off after the death of its former occupant), to explore how they lived and died.

It's when you visit these bedrooms that the game starts throwing surprises at you, jumping from game mechanic to game mechanic. One moment you embody a killer shark, tumbling down a cliff face. Another moment, you are operating factory machinery whilst daydreaming about a fantasy land. It's wonderfully surreal and imaginative, and much of the joy is being introduced to these peculiar, diverse settings.

The result is a short game that lacks any challenge in the traditional sense of the word, but gives you a lot to think about as you play it. If you enjoyed poking through people's private lives in games like Gone Home, Edith Finch feels like a natural progression. On one hand, Edith Finch is a sombre story about remembering people's deaths, but on the other hand, you are playing out the Finches live's at their proudest or happiest moments; the death itself stops being something tragic and instead acts as the means to let these people's stories end on something of a high point.

Edith Finch is an engaging and thoughtful diversion that should be added to your own cabinet of curiosities.