Review – Welcome Home by Shine On Collective
Website Link – https://www.welcomehomeexperience.com/home/
Price – $45 (does not currently include a food element, we paid $55 when it did include a food element)
Disclaimer: we purchased the game with our own money, this review is not sponsored. All thoughts are our own.
Welcome Home is an at-home story box experience designed to allow players to immerse themselves in the narrative while solving a mystery.
Players have just moved into a new house in a seemingly welcoming neighborhood. Many parts of this new experience feel too good to be true, and maybe they are. What’s going on with the town watch? What are your neighbors hiding? Where did the previous occupant to your home go? Maybe you’re overthinking it, or maybe the neighborhood has a few secrets worth exploring.
This is a self-contained mystery experience that only requires what comes with the box and a phone to make calls with. The game is probably best for teenagers or older, and claims to take players about 90 – 120 minutes.
There’s no place like home because if these walls could talk…
Welcome Home markets itself as an “immersive story box experience,” and we agree with that description wholeheartedly. Obviously, there are plenty of puzzles to solve, but the story is the big driving force here. The game does a good job of establishing the setting and cast, and then letting players work their way to each story beat, often using the phone to help move the story forward. Thankfully, Welcome Home comes with a solid narrative that should have players itching to hear it and get to its conclusion.
The game does a good job of integrating its puzzles into the story, tying different puzzling elements and clues into the lore and aesthetic of the neighborhood. We never found the puzzles overly challenging, but they remain unique enough to offer fun and the story progression rewards players well as they put the pieces together.
The puzzles’ easier difficulty levels keep them from ever taking too much focus off the story and allow the story to unfold at a nice pace instead of being halted too much by long intermissions. The 90-120 minute advertised playtime felt right, since we finished closer to the 100 minute mark. The lower difficulty level might also be a good thing since this game doesn’t offer a built in hint system, instead allowing players to send an email for help, which probably only allows hints to arrive but so quickly.
In order to make the story work, the game play is very linear in terms of how puzzles should be solved, so players should be sure to follow directions carefully and obey all privacy notices until told otherwise. As with any linear game, this does mean players will have to work closely on each puzzle together, so they’ll want to make sure they actually like each other. We had no problem solving these puzzles together as a duo.
Unfortunately, it seems Shine On Collective is no longer offering brownies with this experience (on the brightside, that means the game is cheaper to purchase), but we would like to note that the brownies were delicious and while they might not have added much to the overall gameplay, we appreciate any excuse for a treat. Hopefully the brownies return one day, but if not, Welcome Home is more than worth playing by itself.
Official C&C Rating:
Overall Enjoyment: 4/5
Total Averaged Rating: 3.7