Where To Get It: Itch-IO
I loved Return of the Obra-Dinn. Its detective stylings, where you felt clever because you were actually putting together clues. And I love music, especially of the 80s to the mid 90s. So when a friend recommended Family to me, I was extremely on board.
It’s a shorter experience, to be sure… But no less cool. In fact, it makes up for its length in cool factor, specifically… Its soundtrack.
You see, Family is a game about looking back at the history of a fictional 80s London Scene. And each of the nine bands has a representative song. Along with some very believable lore about said scene.
Anyway, for those unfamiliar, Family goes like this: You use various clues, such as articles, roadie notes, and even the game’s Sussex Radio, to determine, essentially, who played in what band. Who moved, and whether they changed instruments (because some do.) And while you certainly won’t get all the drama from piecing things together, you can certainly imagine some of it. The failures along the way. The arguments. The losses. Deduce a certain number right, and you get more clues to work from, until finally… You have all the artists placed. And the character who’s seen it all, Ella Neil, gives one last, bittersweet song to let you go with.
Aesthetically, it’s very minimalist, and the tutorial “cutscenes” are, unfortunately, a little janky, with some obvious tearing… But that minimalism works for it, and makes everything more clear. Whenever in doubt, click on a thing. Play a song. Listen to the radio, and the snippets of interview. Click someone’s face to set a name.
I ended up being confused by one last one… But it clicked when a friend gave me a subtle hint, and the clues are all there. If you like music, and if you like games of deduction, Family gives you that radio feeling while also being a good, tight puzzler. Definitely recommend this one.
The Mad Welshman loves a good tune. And damn, these are some good tunes…