The makers of indie cult favourite Gone Home have created a linear sci-fi title set in 2088 that feels satisfyingly lived in and free from stereotypes
It seems unavoidable to compare Tacoma to Gone Home, the previous game by developer Fullbright Productons. Along with Dear Esther, it is often credited with popularising a certain type of linear narrative-focused game, often pejoratively labelled ‘walking simulators’. As soon as Tacoma was announced, people starting calling it Gone Home in Space. Again, you play as a woman exploring an abandoned environment, and again you’re piecing together what happened to the people who used to be there.
But here the focus has shifted from the recent past to the not-so-distant future. Where Gone Home is set in a spooky house in 90s Oregon and intentionally plays on horror tropes, Tacoma takes the traditional science-fiction setting of a space station – the titular Tacoma. The futuristic placement allows for changes both narrative and mechanical. Whereas the charm of Gone Home, for many, was the familiarity of the 90s setting, the plot of Tacoma in 2088 revolves around an imaginable near future of space travel and advanced AI.