What Remains of Edith Finch
- 2017 mystery adventure video game
Barbara's room, one of the many you explore as part of experiencing the stories of the Finch family.Credit: Giant Sparrow. Fair use.Source: own screenshotSource data licensing:
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ReviewsA poignant masterpiece of interactive storytelling
Finches are known for their short lifespans, and so are the Finches, the troubled family whose story is at the heart of What Remains of Edith Finch.
You play as the titular Edith Finch, a young woman visiting the family’s haphazardly built home on Orcas Island, which was abandoned years ago. Each sealed room holds the story of a family member’s demise—and you want to know all the stories.
As you experience these individual vignettes, your perspective often changes to that of the family member in question. Perspective should not be confused with control: the game inexorably pulls you towards each character’s final destination.
Barbara’s room, one of the many you explore as part of experiencing the stories of the Finch family. (Credit: Giant Sparrow. Fair use.)
In its wistful, surreal style, Edith Finch is reminiscent of a Tim Burton movie like Big Fish; in its portrayal of a beautifully dysfunctional family, it calls to mind the works of Wes Anderson. But the game never feels derivative; it feels inspired.
Like a movie, it is very much on rails—you may very occasionally wander around for a few minutes wondering how to advance the story, but you’re unlikely to need a walkthrough, and there are no meaningful choices for you to make. That never feels limiting: like Edith, you just want to find out what happened.
There’s so much more to praise here: art direction that reaches soaring heights during some chapters (Lewis’ stands out); excellent voice acting especially by Valerie Lohman (Edith); music that will give you chills; an ending that holds nothing back.
I played the game on Linux using Proton without issues. Steam claims that I played it for 3 hours. The Finches may be short-lived, but Edith Finch will remain with me for much longer than that.