Leave Home – Review

Leave Home is a side-scrolling shmup unlike any I’ve ever played before. Then, when I played it the second time, it was unlike any side-scrolling shmup I’d ever played before. Then, when I played it the third time, I stopped with the convoluted introduction because I felt that the reader was probably getting the idea at this point.

Leave Home is a game that changes every time you play it.

And it’s you that changes it.

Leave Home has a dynamic difficulty level that means how well you play will determine how difficult the game is. If you play well, the game will get harder and harder. If you die a lot, the game will get easier because, bless your little cotton socks, the big bad game was too hard for you. I’m in the latter camp.

It’s impossible to truly die in Leave Home, though, as no matter how many lives you lose you’ll always get to the end of the game. All it means is that you won’t see the same end of the game that a better player will see, you won’t have the opportunity to score the kinds of points that better players will score, and you’ll be ashamed of yourself, as will your family. You may even be forced to Leave Home. It’s a totally unique scoring hook though, that allows more points with better play in a way that’s rarely, if ever been done before. And it’s entirely compelling.

There’s more to it than just that, though, and the gameplay itself is tremendous. You can fire ahead of yourself like you would in any shmup, but also you can use the right trigger to change the direction of fire. It soon becomes a balancing act as you try to shoot enemies in all directions by applying the perfect amount of pressure to the right stick to kill as many at once. Getting this right is the key to high scores. High scores are the key to happiness.

It seems silly not to mention how incredible it looks, but I can’t possibly do it justice. Just you go and see for yourself.

Personally, I’m rubbish, but if you’re good there might be some surprises for you later in the game, and who knows, maybe you’ll get to Leave Home. The promise certainly keeps me going back, despite my general ineptitude.

Leave Home is out now and yours for 80 Microsoft Points.

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