Most families have untold stories that are kept secret from younger members. It’s understandable, because certain memories can cripple the innocence of those whose main worry is whether or not George and Peppa can convince Daddy Pig to serve ice-cream for dinner. Like a heartbreaking Waltons, generations of Finches lived and died together in their spacious home, with their rooms being boarded up in memoriam after their passing. However, Edith Finch is now at the age where she’s ready to learn about the curse which caused the untimely felling of her family tree. Thankfully for the titular character, the place where she grew up has a number of secret passages, giving her answers to questions she’s had since youth.
By pulling hidden levers and crawling through small spaces, 17-year-old Edith Finch uncovers the sorrowful tales of dead relatives that are preserved in photographs, journals, and letters found in their rooms. Interacting with these trinkets can reveal playable events leading to their death, or something a bit more vague involving fantastical elements. Each harrowing tale has its own feel — some are even beautiful in a really sad way. Developer Giant Sparrow’s depiction of something so horrible can, at times, be especially moving when played out in a more light-hearted way, like baby Gregory’s orchestral bathtime.
On-screen text ushers you through the Finch mansion, leading you to the next unique story. Some are shorter and less interactive than others, but all are equally compelling. Searching former child star Barbara’s room reveals an interactive comic that has a hokey Goosebumps feel, while Molly’s shape-shifting dream-like sequence goes to unpredictable places because of the imagination she possesses. What Remains of Edith Finch expertly plays with established genre conventions, drastically switching from first-person walkabout to isometric sailing. The goal of each tale is to effectively tell you how each Finch met their demise, and most do that superbly. There are, however, a select few which lean into the obtuse and as a result, don’t provide the finality others do.
Source: Video Gamer