“For the first time in years… I felt like I was home.”
Families can be weird, especially big ones, but I am going to go out on a limb and assume that neither your family tree nor mine can hold a candle to the Finches. What Remains of Edith Finch is an adventure game produced by Giant Sparrow, the studio responsible for The Unfinished Swan. Originally released for the PC and PS4 in 2017, Edith Finch’s PS4 version was riddled with texture loading problems that caused me to be curious about whether or not a Switch port would actually run all that well. To my pleasant surprise, the port runs very well and may in fact be a little more optimized than the original version of the game, but only slightly.
In What Remains of Edith Finch, you play as the titular character Edith as she returns to the Finch home for the first time in years following the death of her mother. As she makes her way through the house, she narrates her experiences, learning about the unfortunate fates of the different members of the Finch family. The Finches are seemingly cursed, doomed to lose all but one child to carry on the family line, a curse that has followed them all the way from Norway to their home on Orcas Island in Washington State. Edith is the final surviving member of the family, writing about her experiences and discoveries exploring the house to pass them on to her child should she fall victim to this curse as well.
As Edith enters each room, all kept the same as they were when the original owner died, the player is treated to a special segment detailing just how this ancestor met their untimely demise. Each of these segments plays differently from the last, some of them more than others. From Molly’s time as a selection of animals to Calvin’s experience doing what everybody wanted to do on the swingset as a kid, each story in the game has its own unique feeling and attitude that will be sure to make any player curious about what the game does next. These keep the narrative interesting all the way through, which is something a lot of other titles in this genre struggle with. The controls while exploring the house are also extremely simple, involving only the R button and the analog sticks to play.
Unfortunately, even as some of the texture pop-in problems seem to be fixed, that does not mean that the port is completely sound. Every once and awhile the game would hang for half a second before continuing as normal, possibly caused by me moving a bit more quickly than the game expected me to. These hangups seemed to happen with a bit more frequency when playing in handheld mode as well, though they were still never anything too egregious. I also ran into a bug during Gregory’s segment that caused the character I was controlling to become stuck underneath where they were supposed to be floating, which could only be fixed by exiting the game and restarting from the previous checkpoint. Outside of these minor annoyances the port appears to be surprisingly technically sound, even more so than I would have initially expected.
To be sure, Edith Finch is a fantastic game that anybody with an interest in narrative experiences should probably try out if they haven’t already. The ability to play the game in handheld mode is an added bonus, as the short length of the game (2-3 hours) makes it perfect for something like a road trip or when trying to show the game to a family member who you think might be interested. With well-acted narration, plenty of variety in terms of gameplay, and a powerful tale that will have you coming back to find any details you might have missed, What Remains of Edith Finch is a must have for any Switch owner who enjoys a captivating story.