What Remains of Edit Finch (2017)

What Remains of Edit Finch (2017), developed by Giant Sparrow, published by Annapurna interactive

What kind of a family finishes a cemetery before they finish a house? That is a question Edith Finch ask of herself when she walks around her old family house, now empty since everyone else in her family has passed. The house, a peculiarly built mansion, filled with books and rooms and secrets of generations past, filled with questions and answers, some lies, some truths, some beliefs and some pure fantasy.

Edith didn't believe she would return to the house, but as she became pregnant, it felt important to pass her family history to her child to be. The history beginning from old Norway, when Odin Finch, distressed by his cursed family line, decided to take his house, literally, and sail to the new world to find better luck there.

But, like curses often do, the bad luck followed the Finches to their new home as well. The house sank to the sea and they had to build a new one, the old showing itself during low tides like a grave marker. But a house they built and it grew with the new generations, expanding wider and taller. And now, there is only one left, Edith, whose mother took her away from the ghosts of the past.

As she walks through the house, looking for the sealed rooms of her ancestry, she stumbles upon the half-forgotten secrets, the many secrets doors and corridors linking the many rooms together. In these rooms, she finally finds out what really happened to her misery laden family. The many deaths and misfortunes, the almost breakthroughs only to be brought down.

So, what kind of a family builds a cemetery before a house? The kind of that believes that they all are going to die sooner rather than later, be it because of bad luck, sickness or just plain old curse. It doesn't really even matter how much of the histories are true, it only matters if you actively believe it. The stories, that have been passed on from one generation to the next. And that is what Edith means to do, to pass on her family history to the only person who will be left after her, the child she carries. Because, in the end, that is what will remain of Edith Finch.

What Remains of Edith Finch is a walking simulator. There are no puzzles, only the story and its flow. You walk around, see hotspots and click them in order to open up a narrative. At times, you need to open doors and whatnot, but there are no genuine puzzles to stop you. The most puzzle-like element in the game comes during the saddest memory of the game, a moment, that made me tear up quite a bit.

The saddest moment and perhaps the most memorable one, makes you see a world through the eyes of a baby having a bath. As these memories are about death, I did, with tears in my eyes, play the scene through to its inevitable end. It is not a graphic scene, none of these deaths are, but you do see the abstraction of his end while Edith is reding the letter written by the father of the child.

Unlike many other walking simulators, Edit Finch is taking a bit more active hand in directing you through the game. On many occasions, the camera is automatically forced to turn towards the right direction, so it is quite clear where you need to go. As you might imagine, this is not a long game. the length of it is around 2, 2 and a half hours, depending on how much you spend time ogling the pretty environments.

More than anything else, What Remains of Edith Finch is a kind of a game, that works because of its story. Not every piece of it is great, but it does have more than enough clever and imaginative stuff, some of it even emotional, to carry through to the end.

So, if you are a fan of interactive stories, What Remains of Edith Finch is not a bad way to go.