Fullbright’s Gone Home was one that drifted well below my radar when it originally released. It wasn’t until the hysteria died down years later, after its release on home consoles, that I found myself wandering the halls of this beautiful, mysterious Oregon home. I remember being unsure of my aim but enamoured by the sense that the Greenbriar home was a real, lived-in place.
Tacoma fails to recapture that initial intrigue Gone Home had, perhaps because we’re aware of Fullbright’s work now. But that doesn’t make the game’s story any less impactful. You walk and, sometimes, float through Tacoma’s eponymous space station as sub-contractor Amy Ferrier, assigned by the station’s parent company Venturis to collect data and retrieve the ship’s A.I. unit, ODIN.
But this isn’t Amy’s story, she’s merely the vehicle in which we experience the real story at play. The relationships of Tacoma’s six-person strong crew, those both onboard and back on-world, as they find themselves in a dire situation following a meteor impact.Fullbright’s secret weapon is its characters. The same is true of Gone Home, but Tacoma’s cast is a brilliantly realised bunch who, though we only spend a brief handful of hours with them, leave a lasting impression. There’s real heart, soul and you honestly ache as their hope begins to diminish at the prospect of their looming mortality. Gone Home really only touched on Sam and Lonnie’s romance, whereas Tacoma spreads its attention across its seven core characters. As a result, each character’s arc perhaps isn’t as deep as in Fullbright’s debut, though they’re each relatable and believable.