Review: EVAN'S REMAINS Keeps Players Guessing In The Best Way

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Playing games that are simple in premise, concept and execution can be some of the most rewarding types of gaming experiences out there. Evan’s remains never got complicated or super deep and robust, it stuck a great landing, even if it was a simple routine. Evan’s Remains is a wonderful little indie game that has a great story, interesting characters, beautiful visuals and great gameplay. This game is absolutely a better experience going in with no prior knowledge of the story or puzzle mechanics, so we won’t be going into any story elements or puzzle mechanics.

The story and characters take players on a mysterious journey into a world that answers questions while leaving room for curiosity and imagination. I loved how much the characters had real personalities even though they only moved very little, had a handful of dialogue expressions and didn’t even use real voices. This is a testament to the great writing through the game and its ability to round out characters and their personalities without overbearing exposition or hand holding. One big issue though was that a lot of the cutscenes and conversations between characters were drawn out and very long. They were interesting and well written, but I would often finish a puzzle in a few minutes and then read for literally for five to ten minutes, change locations multiple times or see various conversations before making it to the next puzzle. I say this in order to set expectations: think of this game as a visual novel with great puzzles. Again, I really enjoyed the story, but cutscenes it can be quite lengthy and could use some trimming.

The actual gameplay mainly consists of solving puzzles with increasingly difficult ideas and additional mechanics. I found the slope of difficulty to be one of the best I had ever seen in a game. Each puzzle challenged me to think in a new way and approach the next one with previous lessons learned in mind. The game rewards experimentation and trial and error, it never tells you how to solve the puzzle. This makes solving them all that more satisfying because the player did all the work to solve the puzzles. The actual jumping and movement is smooth and feels great. I would have liked some longer puzzles and shorter time between puzzles, but it was fine for the price and scope of the game.

Lastly, I want to address the visuals and audio. I was impressed with its simplicity from the moment I started playing it. The smooth animations, flowing environments and style create a living world, even though it is all very pixelated. The character’s actions and movements tell so much about them too. I was impressed with the sound effects, how much they help tie gameplay together and paint the world of Evan’s Remains. The weird sounds of the island and soundtrack combined with the stunning visuals make the game a treat to explore and play through.

Evan’s Remains is not what I expected. Like I said before, it was more like reading an interesting novel with some really great puzzles to progress to the next few pages. I wish it was better advertised and balanced gameplay with cutscenes much more, but overall, this is a great game to experience.

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