Evan’s Remains was yet another one of those games I’d been eyeing up in the eShop until quite recently…so I readily took the opportunity to review it. And not just because the art work and the title are so intriguing; Evan’s Remains is another recent title from Whitethorn, who recently published We Should Talk, which I also reviewed recently and loved. Folks, I was right to be excited. Argentinian developer Matías Schmied has delivered something special with Evan’s Remains…
…that is, except the fact that it’s difficult to talk about it without sounding wrong and awkward. Hey guys, I’m checking out Evan’s Remains. Oh boy is it easy to make it sound wrong. Ahem. Anyway.
Evan’s Remains is a puzzle, thriller, mystery title that follows the character of Dysis, a girl on a quest to find Evan, a prodigy who went missing years ago. The game takes place on a strange island with hidden secrets, which the player reveals as they play. Though I can’t go into too much depth without spoiling it, I will comment that the game’s story is emotional and will definitely tug on your heart strings, though in places it does seem slightly convoluted. I still loved it though, and it kept me guessing right until the end.
Each of the puzzles involves navigating a structure in the form of a jumping puzzle, requiring the player to jump from section to section to reach the exit. But of course it’s not that simple: standing on sections will make them disappear, switches will change the layout of the puzzle, teleporters will take you to new sections, and certain switches will launch you into the air.
There is equally the option to skip these puzzles if you’re only there for the story. I was never tempted to do this, though. The puzzles are interesting, short and enjoyable, challenging but not frustrating, and the mechanics develop as the game progresses. These challenges were easy enough to get the hang of, and well worth completing.
Without these puzzles, you have more of an exclusively visual novel type experience on your hands. There’s nothing wrong with that, but without the ability to choose your interactions with other characters it would make the game a little light of interactivity, so I’d recommend at the least giving the puzzles a go. They’re well worth the time investment.
Between many of the puzzles, you’ll be treated to short cutscenes that drip feed you more of the story, creating a genuine progression of tension and mystery as the game goes on. What is the deal with this strange island? What has happened to Evan? And who is this Clover guy you’ll meet along the way?
Speaking of characters, every one of them in Evan’s Remains is fascinating and used to wonderful effect. Their designs are beautifully expressive of their character, and I quickly became invested in each of them. What’s more impressive is that you never truly know the characters as you think you do, and yet every outcome for every one of them is truly authentic. If you’re anything like me, you’ll feel a little broken and used by the end…but that’s the sign of a great story so I ain’t mad.
Like so many other indies, the pixel art graphical style of Evan’s Remains is truly beautiful. This game is gorgeously colourful, and it’s a real treat to just take in the tranquil beach with its golden sands, vibrant greenery and perfect blue water. Night times are also spectacular; you’ll see shells of buildings standing out against the dark, starry sky, and it’s a wonderful thing to take in. The music that accompanies these graphics is also gorgeously effective, beautiful, atmospheric, tense and tranquil at once. Artistically, Evan’s Remains is a true success.
Evan’s Remains is a beautiful little experience of a game with an intriguing story and some creative puzzler elements. It’s available at a super reasonable price on Nintendo Switch – which it is a perfect fit for – as well as Xbox One, Ps4, PC and Mac.