If you’re going to have to conduct a search for a missing person then a beautiful, secluded island isn’t the worst location to have to do it. That’s the assignment for the protagonist of Evan’s Remains, a young woman by the name of Dysis, tasked with tracking down an infamous genius Evan in this indie adventure that looks like an average platformer but turns out to be something quite different.
While the game does involve moving from left to right on a 2D plane and jumping on a few platformers, Evan’s Remains is actually more of a visual novel with a few puzzles thrown into the mix to keep things interesting. The story element actually ends up being up the main focus of the game as you’ll spend far more of your time reading and clicking through the dialogue than you will jumping around and solving puzzles. This isn’t a criticism as the story itself is inventive and well-written, but it’s worth emphasising that this is a story more than a game – most visual novels have at least some choices to make but that isn’t the case here as it’s a very linear experience.
However the puzzles themselves are fun and (moderately) challenging. Each is confined to a single screen and essentially just involves getting from the bottom-left to the top-right of the screen by jumping from the necessary platforms. Crucially most platforms disappear once you jump off them, but certain special platforms can make standard platforms reappear (or vanish again) while others act as teleporters or cause platforms to move around the screen. None of these puzzles took me longer than 10 minutes to solve, and some I breezed through in under 30 seconds – Evan’s Remains isn’t designed to be particularly challenging.
The whole game actually has a leisurely, low-stress feel to it. You can’t die or fail, there are no time limits and in fact you can choose to skip a puzzle at any time. That’s right – if you feel like it you can skip through every puzzle in the game just enjoying the story aspect. Although I would strongly recommend you don’t do that, even the later puzzles can be easily solved if you just focus and the game itself isn’t particularly long anyway.
The relaxing atmosphere of Evan’s Remains extends to the lovely pixel graphics which look even better in motion, across a varied selection of pretty landscapes – although the puzzles themselves all have the same basic appearance. The music matches the visuals perfectly and is equally charming, although some of the sound effects such as scribbling in notebooks and the popping up of dialogue boxes is jarring and really begins to grate after a while.
The only other irritant is that the storyline itself, while good, can drag a bit in places. Equally it’s worth noting that the brief adventure feels more like a subplot to a much bigger story with an ominous organisation, advanced technology and several fascinating characters with intriguing backstories who are only briefly introduced. While I personally loved this ambiguity I can appreciate that others might find it irritating – especially as it doesn’t seem like we’re going to get any further closure on the rest of these characters and the world they inhabit.
Evan’s Remains was actually funded with a Kickstarter campaign in the Summer of 2019 so it’s release just a year later is impressive for a crowdfunded game, especially from a small indie developer. Unfortunately this is reflected in the fact the game is only a few hours long and there’s incentive to try and play it again after completion. I understand it wouldn’t have made sense to cram the game with any more puzzles, but I would have appreciated it if there were a few more bonus puzzles to attempt once the game had been completed.
But overall Evan’s Remains is a very pleasant experience in a well-polished package. As long as you aren’t looking for a real challenge or a game to keep you occupied for a long time then I can heartily recommend what is a very enjoyable few hours of gameplay. Oh, and for those you who need to know – yes there is a dog and yes, you can pet it.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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Evan's Remains Review
Gameplay - 7/10
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 6/10
Replay Value - 3/10
User Review( votes)
In these trying times Evan’s Remains is a fun, stress-free experience. A well-written story with plenty of mystery is complemented by some enjoyable but not particularly challenging puzzles, the only major drawback is how quickly it’s all over.
- Fascinating and unique story.
- Looks gorgeous.
- Enjoyable puzzles.
- The whole game is over in a few hours.
- The puzzles aren’t particularly challenging.
- Some of the sound effects can become irritating.