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No Place Like Home Review

No Place Like Home is a stunning looking post-apocalyptic simulation game by Chicken Launcher and published by Realms Distribution. Post-apocalyptic with a difference though! It’s blue skies and green fields and a ton of rubbish. It is all about cleaning up the Earth after most humans have left, building up your home base, and making the world a better place for the other humans who were left behind.

Cleaning up the world with a black hole hoover

I mean, there’s no black hole in the hoover that I’m aware of, but there could be. Something is powering that thing with limitless power and where is it storing tons of rubbish? A black hole is the only answer. Come at me with some science that I won’t understand to prove me wrong. I might accept it, I might not. It’s a black hole hoover that you carry around on your back that beats anything that the Ghostbusters did before. You can use this proton pack backpack hoover to suck, blow, smash and as what can only be described as a blow torch.

Anyway, you play as Ellen who has inherited a trash-filled farm from her grandfather. It is surrounded by polluted waters, trash-covered fields, toxic mountains, acid-spitting robots and other weird futuristic things. As Ellen, you are determined to make the world more beautiful. You achieve this with the massive chore of cleaning up the farm you’ve been left and the surrounding areas. You collect tons of trash and use it to craft a new home, plant crops, build coops and domesticate animals. Basically, clean up the entire area to make it safer for the humans and animals that remain on Earth.

No Place Like Home screenshot 1

The Game

The game opens with a quick and simple tutorial. It’s hands-on and teaches you the mechanics without lengthy explanations. You look at a sign that tells you what this part is, then you do it. It doesn’t need to be any more than it is, but it’s more than enough to teach you how to play. This is exactly how game tutorials should be. You don’t need lengthy talks from an NPC or anything like that. Just quickly show me what I need to know and let’s play the game. A great start.

Once you complete the tutorial, it’s onto your farm where there is so much trash, you can barely see the field where you have some vegetables growing and chickens roaming. After clearing some space, upgrading your drill and defeating some of the aggressive robots, you are finally able to meet some of the locals. Because you know, they couldn’t possibly help. It’s all your problem. Outside your farm’s boundaries? Still your problem. They’ll just stand there waiting for you to do all the work. Although they do let you convert some of the trash into items you can use. They could have picked it up themselves and sold you the item for something else. They’re lazy, clearly. Although not everything is related to giving them trash.

As well as each NPC having a store where you can purchase building plans, upgrades and even unlock higher defence and HP, they will also task you with fetch quests.  They want your help to clean up and restore areas for wild animals that they won’t help you to do. The questing system has its quirks but is intuitive enough that people shouldn’t struggle with it. It also gets rather repetitive.

Combat is limited and just not fun. There’s no challenge involved. Just get close enough and fry the robots for a few seconds and it’s done. I’m not saying I want more of a challenge because the rest of the game is fairly relaxing. It’s just neither here nor there for me. I’m sure it’ll get harder as I go through, but to start with it’s almost laughably easy and at times it’s just an annoyance once you’ve settled into the relaxation of cleaning up an area so that it looks beautiful. You reach the final heap of dirt and BAM, acid-spitting spider robot is trying to kill you. Urgh. It’s not a challenge, but let just let me finish cleaning up. The whole combat aspect just doesn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the game and could really do without it.

No Place Like Home screenshot 2

Look & Sound

The environment in No Place Like Home is beautiful. The artwork is stunning and you can see that a lot of attention and care was put into the way the world looks. There’s a fair bit of quirkiness to how some of the animals look that expresses the personality of the game. It might not be a deep story-rich game, but it is visually.

Considering that it’s a post-apocalyptic game, you’d expect it to be dark and rough. Think Fallout as an example. There’s none of that here which is weird considering the setting. The look helps with the main aspect of the game though in that it adds to the relaxing nature of the cleaning up. Once you get rid of the brown crappy rubbish, you’re back to beautiful green grass. You’re basically making the world look beautiful again.

As you progress you get the opportunities to upgrade and decorate your home with all kinds of decorations. You can even give your livestock gifts like disco balls and hats, because who doesn’t want a pig with rabbit ears?! Everyone does! And if you think you don’t, then give your pig some fluffy rabbit ears as a headpiece and tell me honestly that you don’t love that pig. You won’t be able to. It’ll become your new favourite in-game pet and you’ll love it a little bit more every time you see it. So one thing you can definitely say about No Place Like Home is that it is definitely not lacking in style – just like my pig with fluffy rabbit ears. Also, disco lights on a chicken coop? What’s there not to love?

The music is fairly standard. It’s not unenjoyable… but I also wouldn’t say it’s enjoyable. It’s just there, in the background doing its thing. It adds to the relaxation aspect of the game so it serves a purpose. But you could play the game on mute and not miss out on anything. Which is kind of how I like my music to be in games.

No Place Like Home screenshot 3

Length & Replayability

There are a lot of hours of gameplay that can go into a game like No Place Like Home. In Adventure Mode, I wouldn’t be surprised if you could get into several hundred hours’ worth. When you open the Steam page, you instantly notice that the Developers have been continuing to add to the game. Fixing issues, adding more content. Sure, some aspects get quite repetitive, but there are still hours and hours of in-game content to explore and cute animals to befriend.

The biggest problem with replayability will be the repetitiveness though. You need to understand resource management from a fairly early point. Once you understand how it works, it becomes fairly easy. Then the repetitiveness kicks in, which might become a dealbreaker to some. Clean garbage, care for your farm, complete a simple quest. Rinse and repeat. Forever! Nah, probably not forever… hopefully.

With the developers publishing updates quite often (there was an update on the 2nd of March and then two small hotfixes on the 10th and 11th, for example), things are improving all the time which hopefully adds to everyone’s enjoyment of it. Regular updates are always good, especially when there’s problems that for some would prevent them from playing anymore. Updates mean new quests which can be expanded to add a lot more variety. An update to some of the resource management would be nice though, as I’ve seen some people saying how if they spend it on the wrong items they then can’t progress as that resource is no longer available. And really, who wants to start a game again because they built the wrong thing? That’s why it’s always good to see developers taking an active interest in releasing updates.

Conclusions

Overall, the game has a lot of promise. Would I say it’s a complete game ready to come out of testing? Maybe not, but it’s pretty close. And with the developers working on it, I expect it’ll just get better and better soon enough. There are a few things to clean up, just like you have to do in the game! But it’s almost there and it has the potential to be a very underrated game. The overall look and feel of No Place Like Home is enjoyable. It’s a family-friendly post-apocalyptic survival game that is more chore simulator than anything else, which is totally fine. It’s one of those that you can leave along for a period of time and just jump straight back in without thinking how to do things.

Basically, I’ve enjoyed it. I’ll play it some more, for sure. I score it a 7 out of 10, and there’s definitely the potential with this game to score higher. There’s a lot to love about it with some really fun concepts. And if you’re into relaxing games, check out Submerged: Hidden Depths.

A code was kindly provided for us to review this.

We Score This Game

rating score: 7

Very Good!

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