Homebody Review – Do you ever get a feeling of Deja Vu?

Homebody is a phenomenal piece of psychological horror from the Game Grumps team, with a protagonist you can't help but relate to.
Homebody Review
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

I’m what some might call a horror-obsessed freak. Being a creative writer for going on 14 years now, I absolutely love finding a good piece of terrifying media and deconstructing the ways it works (and the ways it doesn’t) in obsessive ramblings that must sound like archaic tongues to those unfortunate enough to have to listen to me talk. That is to say that subversive, interesting, and compelling horror is one of my favorite things and my standards are incredibly high.

I am therefore surprised, to say the least, that one of my new favorite pieces of spooky media has come from none other than the Game Grumps office. Not that I have anything against the Grumps, the two main boys and the extended cast of the Game Grumps universe are some of my favorite entertainers. Certainly not, however, what I expected to be the creators of subversive and interesting cosmic horror.

In particular, Jory Griffis I believe is the sort of father behind the project. The seasoned developer was also the narrative director on the popular Dream Daddy dating sim. From what the Grumps seem to have suggested in their preview of the game, Homebody is Jory’s baby, his prized work, and I have to say it really shows.

What is Homebody, anyway?

Homebody is a suspense-filled psychological horror about a group of friends trapped in an old house with a killer. The game explores the relationship between Emily, an anxiety and paranoia-plagued young artist, and her estranged friends, who despite their best efforts have begun to grow apart after Emily left home. The game focuses heavily on the dynamic between this group and Emily’s psychosis to tell a deeply emotional and psychosocial narrative trapped within the confines of one horrible, bloody night.

It is also so, so much more than that, but I can’t really get into it without spoiling Homebody’s tension-filled cold open. If you’re already sold on Homebody and want to check it out, I highly recommend you stop reading here and pick it up. The rest of the review will get into the deeper themes and mechanics of the game, and will only spoil the first 10-15 minutes. You’ve been warned!

Homebody Car
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

Homebody opens with Emily pulled over at the side of a long, quiet road, fighting back an anxiety attack over the countless unread messages on her phone. Poor Emily is running late for a long-awaited reunion with her old friends, and the stress of disappointing them and their expectations tempts Emily to just turn around and go home. After some convincing over text, she manages to make it to the AirBnB considerably later than she was supposed to.

Emily’s psychosis is intrinsically tied to the story and is both the biggest part of her character and the biggest source of tension between her and the group. It is easy when writing a character like Emily to overplay the subtlety of her problems and make the character come off as annoying, unrelatable or unrealistic, but Emily is written incredibly well and manages to be both likable and relatable while conveying the seriousness of her problems. Of all the characters you meet in Homebody, I fell in love with Emily the most, with Cliff taking a surprising second place right behind her.

Homebody Emily
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

After a few hours of awkward conversation and exploring the strange old house, things quickly take a turn for the worst when the power goes out. Before too long, a killer escapes from the locked attic, and Emily is forced to watch as her friends are slain one after the other, eventually culminating in the death of Emily herself. Then, Emily comes to.

After the shocking opening, the narrative takes a shocking twist by presenting you with a Groundhog Day type scenario, forcing Emily to relive the same night over and over again. Each time you’re forced to restart the night, you keep the memories of what happened the last time you attempted to escape, and must use your accumulated knowledge to find a way to escape before you and your friends are inevitably killed again. The same events happen each night, putting you on a timer to figure out a way to escape before the clock strikes 11 and the killer is released again.

Homebody Killer
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

Homebody’s use of the timewarp concept is brilliant for both its narrative and gameplay. Mechanically, it challenges you to complete the same puzzles over and over again in an impossibly short timeframe, allowing you to discover useful information to take into the next time as you inevitably fail over and over again. As Emily tries to speak with her friends about the events that keep happening, she finds the words coming out of her mouth mysteriously changed, preventing her from discussing the nightmare that just happened.

As her friends begin to show signs of remembering bits of what happened before, you begin to wonder if they truly are oblivious to the horror around them, or if they are trapped in the same loop you are, their cries for help censored by the mysterious force keeping you here.

Homebody comes out of the gate with a strong premise and keeps the tension high with plenty of twists and turns along your path to escaping this cursed house. The gameplay is a simple point-and-click puzzle style, and you’re presented with interesting narrative often enough to keep you hooked on the game. The characters are likable and expressive, with a ton going on beneath the surface – an adage I’d use to describe the game as a whole.

The Final Word

Homebody is a fantastic piece of psychological horror that’s sure to live in your mind long after you’ve finished the game. With a narrative as interesting as it is unpredictable, you’re bound to be glued to the screen as you try to discover the mystery behind this strange house and the friends within.

10

Homebody was reviewed on the PC. Find more detailed looks at popular and upcoming titles in the Game Reviews section of our website! Homeboy is available on Steam, Epic Games, Switch, PS4, PS5, and Xbox Series X.

Erik Hodges

Erik Hodges

Erik Hodges is a hobby writer and a professional gamer, at least if you asked him. He has been writing fiction for over 12 years and gaming practically since birth, so he knows exactly what to nitpick when dissecting a game's story. When he isn't reviewing games, he's probably playing them.

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