What Remains of Edith Finch (from Giant Sparrow) is en emotionally charged game — fluctuating between thrilling, frightening, and tragic.
Edith Finch is a young woman, who returns to her family home, hoping to learn more about her family — all of whom are dead. With so many family members having vanished or met strange and untimely deaths, Edith wants to find the truth behind the question of whether the Finches cursed or just terribly unlucky.
The gameplay is one of exploration, as Edith moves through the ramshackle Finch house — a seemingly impossible structure with room stacked upon room stacked upon room. Her journey through the house leads her into hidden passageways and over rooftops, as she tries to access sealed off rooms.
Edith tells her own stories of growing up in the house, while seeking out answers about her family. She opens their journals and notebooks — and the player is drawn into the family member’s point of view, enabling the player to experience the narrative from a first person perspective.
Edith Finch is a perfect example of how gameplay mechanics can be used to enhance the storytelling experience. As the player delves into each family member’s journal, the game style and mechanics shift to match the tone of the story being told.
In one such story, the player enacts a monotonous task while simultaneously moving an imaginary character through a fantasy world. The mechanics perfectly mimic the way a person can be doing one thing while thinking about something entirely different — an experience so immersive that the resolution left me weeping in tears.
Not all of the mysteries within the Finch home are fully answered. Not all stories don’t have simple or straightforward endings. It’s an ambiguity that manages to feel satisfying, suiting the game as a whole.
Although short (at around 2-3 hours of gameplay), What Remains of Edith Finch nevertheless packs a powerful emotional punch that lingers long after the game is turned off.