Backlog Review: “Three Fourths Home: Extended Edition” (Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC – Monochrome May Special)

Welcome back to The Splintering’s Monochrome May event! Today we’re going to pick apart Bracket Games’ Three Fourths Home: Extended Edition, a visual novel for the Nintendo Switch.Three Fourths Home tells the story of a young woman named Kelly who is talking to her family members over a cell phone as she drives to their home. If that doesn’t sound too engaging from a “gameplay” standpoint, you’d be correct. As far as the onscreen action is concerned, you only control whether your headlights are on or off, and you must continually hold a button (R2 on the Nintendo Switch) to advance your vehicle down the road.Three Fourths Home_extended_edition_review-the-splintering-monochrome-may-nintendo-switch-5As a visual novel, the real “action” of Three Fourths Home comes from the story itself. The player is given a variety of dialogue options which alter the progression of the plot and how the relationships between the various family members unfolds. It’s a very simple mechanic and requires zero skill to complete, but it’s not an altogether unenjoyable experience.As a matter of fact, the story (at least how I played through it) is particularly timely given how close we are to Mother’s Day. It’s about communication, real-world hardships, and family bonds. It’s actually pretty touching. It’s also particularly timely, not just for its inclusion in our Monochrome May features, but also seeing as how we’re still so close to Mother’s Day. Call your moms, okay?Three Fourths Home_extended_edition_review-the-splintering-monochrome-may-nintendo-switch-2In addition to crafting a largely heartfelt tale, Three Fourths Home does a really nice job using the sound and haptic feedback. The sounds of the chaotic weather around you are exponentially enhanced with well-timed vibrations (at least in my play through on the Nintendo Switch via “HD rumble”).In fact, Three Fourths Home is one of the very few games that I would recommend playing in portable mode rather than docked. A darkened room, a pair of headphones and an up-close-and-personal handheld experience is the best way to play Three Fourths Home.Three Fourths Home_extended_edition_review-the-splintering-monochrome-may-nintendo-switch-1On the negative side, Three Fourths Home is particularly short, clocking in at just over an hour even with the extra Extended Edition content. Of course, that makes it easy to pick up and replay with different choices, but it’s still admittedly brief.Visually, Three Fourths Home is heavy on style with its gray scale aesthetic, but there are plenty of moments where the backgrounds repeat, or are not particularly interesting. In fact, you will find yourself staring intently at the pop-up dialogue choices, so much so that you may miss the more interesting pieces passing in the background.As part of the main game (not the Extended Edition post-game content), you need to continually hold the right trigger to advance your car. It’s a little pointless as there is nothing to worry about dodging on the road, and there is no benefit to moving along any faster. This caused me some discomfort that I will only refer to as “Joycon claw”, though this may not affect you the same way it did me, particularly if you play using a different controller.Three Fourths Home_extended_edition_review-the-splintering-monochrome-may-nintendo-switch-6If the above description of the “game” doesn’t appeal to you, I doubt that there is much else I could say that would convince you. These types of “visual novel” experiences are not for everyone. However, given what Bracket Games tried to accomplish with Three Fourths Home – to create a short, narrative-based experience that is enhanced by gaming hardware –  they were largely successful.And for heaven’s sake, call your mom.Three Fourths Home_extended_edition_review-the-splintering-monochrome-may-nintendo-switch-3Three Fourths Home is available on both PC and Mac via Steam, while the Extended Edition is available on Nintendo Switch, PS4, and Xbox One. The Nintendo Switch edition was used for the purposes of this review.

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