What Remains Of Edith Finch will not be for everyone – that much I can say with confidence. It’s a strange little indie project from Giant Sparrow, a California based indie developer who previously put out another little gem called The Unfinished Swan. It’s an experience that many wouldn’t really call ‘traditional’; a game that many would be quick to label a “walking simulator”; an interactive story that slowly unravels as you progress, though with notably less interactivity than its contemporaries. Most importantly, Edith Finch is an experience that embodies a tone and atmosphere like no other, which makes it something truly special.
What Remains Of Edith Finch takes place in the Finch family home, which is situated on a rocky cliffside in Washington. Seemingly defying all laws of physics, the house is strangely shaped and packed to the brim with heirlooms, stories, and furniture, having been abandoned several years prior. You play as Edith, who returns to the home to learn about her family’s troubled past, as well as herself. You’ll slowly learn about each member of the Finch family, and how they met their untimely demise.
The crux of the gameplay is simply exploring the house, soaking up the atmosphere and “experiencing” thirteen or so story vignettes about each member of the Finch family. Each one is uniquely designed to evoke the themes and motifs that best match up to that family member’s own interests and final moments before their death. The result is something truly unique, where the morbidity of death is well juxtaposed against fantastical or colourful imagery. Despite this, there were times in Edith Finch where I felt like the symbolism was a little bit too on-the-nose.