In No Place Like Home, you play as Ellen Newland, a girl who decides to visit her grandfather one last time before moving to Mars. However, she discovers upon arrival that he is missing. Ellen sets out on a mission to find him while also taking care of his farm and the land around her. In this post-apocalyptic simulation game, it’s your job to clean the earth of the trash and toxic chemicals humans left behind. You’ll also need to grow fruits, vegetables, and trees, while caring for the animals around you.
There are many different locations in No Place Like Home, with new quests opening in each place. There are few humans left on the Earth, but the ones around your father’s farm are willing to help you find him as long as you help them as well. The tasks tend to be very simple ones, such as helping them find resources or building habitats for nearby animals.
Every location is filled with giant piles of garbage, and you have two tools to help you clean them up. One is a blowtorch-type instrument that breaks down the bigger piles of trash, and the other is a vacuum that sucks up the garbage. You can recycle the garbage into furniture, buildings, or materials. For example, you will need to expand your farm with more patches of dirt to grow plants, and you can make dirt with your recycled materials. You can also make decorations for your farm and house, as well as shelter for your animals.
To take care of your farm, you must first plant your vegetation. You can then suck water into your vacuum, and blow it back out onto your plants to water them. You have to water your plants every day, but there are upgrades to make tasks like this easier. Once your farm has grown to a point where watering it yourself becomes too long of a hassle, you can make sprinklers to do that job for you. Your animals produce items—such as eggs and milk—and once you upgrade their shelters to a certain point, those items are automatically collected. You must also feed your animals—as well as bathe and pet them—to keep them happy. The happier they are, the more items they produce.
You can upgrade your tools by collecting not only the right materials, but also enough jars. Jars are now the currency on Earth, and you can collect them through the trash you clean and from chests scattered throughout the map, and you’ll use them to preserve the fruits and vegetables you grow.
No Place Like Home also has plenty of enemies to face. These enemies are different kinds of robotic spiders that either jump at you or shoot poison at you. You use your blow torch to kill them. However, there are nice robots you can help by cleaning the dirt from them. You can also adopt robotic llamas onto your farm, and they will find materials for you.
The controls for No Place Like Home are fairly easy, and you are given a tutorial in the beginning of the game. You can also access the controls at any time during the game by going to the main menu. The only problem I had with the control was the accuracy. For example, when planting seeds, you have to get your cursor into a very specific spot in order for it to work. I also had a couple of interface troubles in which certain actions wouldn’t work. You can run in the game while holding down the L button, but there were times where I could hold the button down and still only be able to walk.
No Place Like Home is a very fun and involving game that is nearly impossible to put down once you start. It takes a serious and scary look at our world, and provides hope. Cleaning the Earth in this game feels like an accomplishment, as does helping the animals. There is a good mix of cleaning, farming, and fighting, so the game never feels repetitive or boring. It’s also filled with cute details that add on to the joyous feeling of this game. I mean, you can put hats on your farm animals. It doesn’t get much better than that.