The $20 DOOM mod!!!
Is the game pretty?
+For its' style, yes.
How are the sounds?
-Nothing special; I've heard it all before.
And the story?
+/-It has an interesting (though VERY overdone and incredibly full of overused tropes) back-story involving the occult and murder/suicide. The actual story is much the same, full of ambiguous notes left by "your" little sister written to her friend that push the story along. 'Why is she leaving so many notes all over the house? What is she up to? And where are (your) parents?' Tropefully delicious, but interesting none-the-less.
How does it control?
What of the puzzles and combat?
Wait...WHAT!? Yes, you read me right. There are no puzzles. There is no combat. There is no enemy, no slasher, no occultists, no ghosts, no loose floorboards or rakes to smack into your face...no squat. In short: There is no "game".
What "Gone Home" is, is a DOOM mod from 20 years ago, all gussied-up with all the combat removed. You, as the college woman, visit room after room, collecting notes and keys to unlock other rooms, until you finish. Most players finish this title in about 90 minutes, though it IS possible to complete the game in about 90-to-180 SECONDS.
Well...the ending must be REALLY spectacular for people to gush over this title so much, right?
-Ever hear of a cartoon from the 1980's called "G.I. Joe"? It was your typical military/action cartoon from the period without any redeeming value, except for the 30-60 second blurb at the end talking safety (and starting the catch phrase "Now I (or We) Know! And Knowing Is Half The Battle. G.I. Joe!"). I bring this up due to a single episode called,
"The Viper is Coming"
Long story short, one of the main good guys (Joes) gets a mysterious phone call stating, "...the viper is coming; five seventy-five." His compatriot believes it a challenge from their long-time nemesis, the terrorist organization 'COBRA'. Thus begins a mad dash around the world, fueled by ever-more cryptic phone calls as the Joes systematically dismantle secret COBRA installations, each clue pinpointing exactly where to go. Until The Viper informs by phone that he is coming the next day. The Joes, armed to the teeth on emptied streets, are met by an old man with an accent, who calmly tells the Joes that he is a "...vindow viper..." and will charge them "...$5.75 per hour"...and concludes to the most unusual, coincidental, disappointing, and out-right stupid story resolutions in American Animation History. Even the 90's cartoon "Animaniacs" mocked this specific episode.
That's how "Gone Home" ends. I'm not going to spoil the story and ending...but the entire story of the game and its' resolution (there's no climax) are lifted entirely from "The Viper is Coming", re-worded to resemble something from an 'internet fiction for curious girls' website, and injected into a DOOM mod.
If this title were offered for $0.99 on an App Store, then I would recommend it. It's good for exactly one play through, and wouldn't make you feel like you were ripped off. Offered as a 'legitimate' $20 title? Not a chance. There are thousands of better games on the market, and several hundred Visual Novels available on the internet or for retail that are far more satisfying in every category than "Gone Home". Most of them the same price or cheaper.
Heck, Atlus is bringing a title called "AquaPazza" (PS3) to North America in mid-November for retail & Download for $30. Same with "Sweet Fuse: At Your Side" (PSP) from Aksys in late August, and from Aksys again "Hakuoki: Memories of the Shinsengumi" (3DS) in mid-September. All three games feature female empowerment, and for that $10 extra you also get something that "Gone Home" doesn't offer: