What Remains of Edith Finch is a really weird game. I’m not even sure it’s fun. But it’s incredibly interesting, decidedly unsettling, and it has one of the creepiest lines of dialog I’ve ever heard. I’m not going to tell you what that line is, because the less you know about Edith Finch, the more you’re likely to enjoy it, if “enjoy” is an appropriate word for a game in which you transform into a cat, then a bird, then - but wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with the house.
The game begins with you returning to a house that’s supposed to be long empty, but clearly isn’t. Smoke swirls from the chimney, and the rooms look like they were abandoned just a few moments ago. The seemingly endless stacks of books crammed into every free area are your first clue that the family who lives there is a little bit off, but that’s nothing. Wait until you see the peepholes that let you look into bedrooms whose doors are sealed shut. And then you start reading the diary of a little girl who was the “first one to die in the house.”
This is where the cat and bird stuff starts. The little girl was sent to her room without any dinner, so she started eating stuff around her room. Toothpaste, hamster food, some holly berries. And then she changed into a cat and chased a barn swallow, but couldn’t catch it, so she became an owl and hunted rabbits. But the rabbits weren’t enough to satiate her mighty hunger, so she changed into a shark - which was a bit of a thing because she was still in the tree - and ate a seal after flopping her way to the ocean. The seal still wasn’t enough, so she became a monster and started eating people. But she was still hungry, and so - well, let’s just say she found something else to eat and that’s what led to that really creepy line of dialog.
The actual gameplay of Edith Finch is still a bit wonky. Catching those rabbits began to feel like a chore as I missed and missed and missed again; fine enough to suffer through a learning curve to catch one, but you need to gobble down three. Hunting the seal was similarly tedious, but the devs are aware that these sections need some fine-tuning to keep the flow of the story going. And despite being made genuinely uncomfortable by what was happening, I got to the end of the girl’s story and wanted to know more. I have no idea - truly cannot imagine - what’s waiting behind the other doors of that house in What Remains of Edith Finch, but I absolutely want to find out.