No Place Like Home is a single-player 3rd person PC indie title from devs Chicken Launcher and published by Realms Distribution. With Earth trashed (literally) and humanity moved onto Mars, it is down to you to begin the clean-up operation.
No Place Like Home – Tranquil Farming Fun
I really wasn’t sure what to expect with this survival sim title in all honesty, let’s crack on! Be sure to check out my previous Thumb Culture reviews here!
In a nutshell, No Place Like Home is all about exploration, crafting, cleaning up and tending to the land around you.
Playing as Ellen, you have inherited a farm, or what is left of it, from your grandfather. With piles of trash and muck-like stone columns all around you, you must use your trusty drill and vacuum to demolish and suck up all of the crud that lies around.
At first I really thought that this was going to be tedious and take a lot of fun away from the game. There is rubbish everywhere you look and it blocks every route to where you want to go. There is, however, something really satisfying about clearing it away. A bit like those videos of someone jet washing a patio clean or seeing a before and after of a garden that has been neglected, satisfaction is bizarrely achieved from clearing a cluttered grassy field and being left with a colourful, blissful expanse.
Like many survival games, the idea is to craft your way along by learning new recipes, discovering new materials and unlocking more areas to explore. I love how each of the crafting benches and recycling facilities appear as Mecano-like structures, mackled together with whatever spare parts are about. Similarly, as well as your standard real-life farmyard animal such as chickens, pigs, dogs, etc, you are also graced with robotic entities. Metallic robo llamas and cubebots can also be tamed to then provide you with recycled material for crafting.
The key is to find as many resources as possible. These can be from opening suitcases exposed after you have cleared an area or even from defeating an enemy or befriending an animal. Resources are used for both crafting and taming animals.
As you build your farm you can grow vegetables such as potatoes, tomatoes and carrots. The list is expansive. Ellen is also equipped with a water gun that can be used to spray the crops and is refilled from any nearby water source such as a stream. Each harvested item is used in a unique way. A potato for example is used to tame a chicken. Who knew?
Of course, no survival game is complete without baddies to make your mission a bit trickier! There are a whole host of robotic villains such as pouncing ant-like robots and cannon robots that fire from afar to deal with. Each can be taken care of with a few swings of your drill however timing is everything. Should you die you simply go back to your nearest respawn having lost a day.
As you explore the surrounding lands you will discover quests by talking to the animals as well as other NPCs in the vicinity. Each will send you off on a specific task such as taming animals or building structures. Your rewards vary however new recipe cards and blueprints are always welcome. After all, who doesn’t like refurbishing their bedroom and making it look more like home!
The map is split into 5 zones with a further 2 underground. From the farm to the Lonely Hills and Dusty Desert, there are many different environments featuring different climates, flora and fauna to explore. Make sure to keep a tab on which resource is found at each location!
When it comes to collectibles, there are a whole host to try and find. From cooking recipes, feather collections to crops, can you find them all?
Graphics & Audio
No Place Like Home is very bright, colourful and attractive. With beautifully animated waterfalls, hovering glow bugs and other lighting effects, it does look very appealing to all ages. The graphics are slightly like Fortnite however there is something unique to the artwork that makes it feel fresh.
The structures, scenery, npc’s and animals each have its own charm and character. The animations are all smooth as you watch the chickens going about their daily routines or run through across the land. I did not experience any jutters.
The soundtrack to No Place Like Home is very calming and works very well with the gameplay. Each area has a different mellow accompaniment. The sound effects, especially when sucking up the trash all around you, is oddly pleasant and despite the amount you have to hoover up, it doesn’t get too repetitive and boring.
No Place Like Home has a fairly long play life in my opinion. There are many structures to find the recipe cards to as well as upgrades to unlock. Combine that with the amount of customisation you have over decoration, including putting cute little headpieces onto your animals and you almost have an Animal Crossing type scenario.
Well. I have spent a long time sucking up waste, constructing buildings, taming animals and collecting resources. I love it. The level design is great and the hands-on tutorial at the start gets you into the gameplay from the off. I found myself just feeling really calm with an almighty sense of achievement as I clear the rubbish to reveal a beautiful untainted natural countryside. Well done Chicken Launcher, No Place Like Home bags a Thumb Culture Platinum Award!
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.