Evan’s Remains is a puzzle-adventure genre game developed by Matias Schmied himself. The game is owned and published by Whitethorn Digital. It released on the 11th of June 2020. Whitehorn Digital released the game on multiple platforms like Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. The game is priced at $7.
Evan’s Remains concept first erupted as a Kickstarter project and people funded it open-heartedly. After a year, it was launched in its final form. The game was the sole development of Matias Schmied. It is a logic-based platform puzzle game with some Japanese graphics submerged into a game. The story of the game starts with the appearance of a little girl ‘Dysis’. She was told by Evan before to rescue him from an island on the Pacific Ocean. Evan was a man of exceptional mind capabilities and had gone missing due to unknown reasons. Dysis, in a confused state as to why, was she chosen, decided to set sail and explore that enigmatic island to find Evan. During her venture, she also gets to learn a lot about that island.
If I talk about the gameplay, this game is a puzzle-solving game at its core. But the main theme is presented using visuals to give it a novel feel. The game shows scenes in between the story and the puzzle quests. Puzzles may seem easy but playing them shows that it is not the case. You need to reroute yourself to a series of platforms that need to be jumped to reach the top to a special pillar on your right. These platforms aren’t that simple, they got some tricks to it. The pretty basic ones disappear at the same time when you jump from them, leaving you nothing to come back to if you fail an exact jump. Other ones either act as switches or gates reactivating a platform, a jump pad, or teleports. You don’t need any typical skill to win the puzzle, but all it takes is your thinking and implementation which makes a satisfying experience when you complete a puzzle. All aren’t the same though. Some platforms demand your perfect timing and jumping skills as accuracy matters in those, but they also aren’t that tough that you need even hours to solve it. Some retries and you are good to go.
You also have an option to skip a puzzle in the menu box, but where’s the fun in skipping one? Some diligence in those moments would be handy. I do honor the presence of this option because some players may be there for the story, and they could easily skip the difficult puzzles without wasting their time on it. Cutscenes included provide a brain break from a definite sequence and help you progress faster through the game. You would certainly feel that the game ended very quickly as you would be wanting more as the game’s value for money is incredible. It was amazing gameplay!
The thing that would make you sink more in Evan’s Remains is its visual and graphical representation. They both are impeccable. Configuring a 16-bit pixel art to scale to modern graphic standards was put up marvelously. Game backgrounds of landscapes are stunning and have got perfect detail to them. With so much less openness, adding reflection to the sea did provide me with a soothing experience. The game developer also focused on small details, which can even be seen when looked closely like sand clouds appearance when you jump from, stars in a level having a background from the night, etc. It provides an easing and calmly venture as a game. Cutscenes also have some character portraits, which have a Japanese anime style. As the game comprises of very few characters, the developers had done their best to make them full of character and different from each other. You may also find some portraits representing different reactions and moods like from the ‘Persona’ games, adding a touch of humor and tension to it. From the visual novel-style games, Evan’s Remains would be holding ground in terms of graphics for many years.
As for the story representation, it is also put into place very well. The game is written very cleverly with a static progress rate. You won’t find some parts of the game to move quickly, or some very slowly in terms of story. The dialogue style matches a lot to the Ace Attorney series where Dysis may have a Phoenix Wright feel to her funny and clever comments. The vibrancy in characters also brings life to this game. I liked the fact that when you proceed throughout the game, your characters also have good advancements in them which is indeed a fabulous feature in a game that is barely three to five hours long. I have tried my best up till now to stay away from giving in-depth spoilers to the game. Maintaining it, I would say that it is one of the best games where the ending is acutely gratifying. You would get a little feel of the ending, as what it could be, as you progress through the game. The reason for this is that the cutscenes here do provide you trails for what’s about to happen soon, leaving it to player’s imagination. This feel keeps you submerged into the game and provides an immersive feel to it for anyone who plays it. Indeed, Evan’s Remains has one of the best writing scripts ever seen in a video game, especially for a puzzle one.
One thing that gives Evan’s Remains a downside is its soundtrack. It seems that Matias Schmied was so much focused on other things that he forgot to look to it in depth. You wouldn’t even feel the presence of one as there is nothing so special to it. I don’t mean to say that the game has no audio, It has! But the thing is that those melodies aren’t that immersive that they provide you with a feeling of something going on in your ears. A nice soundtrack, if added would make the game a good combo. However, it is a small part of this game, and other strong foundation aspects won’t make you feel a lot upset about it. As for a solo developer, this is forgivable. It gave me some mind relaxation and playing it continuously didn’t make me feel tired at all. This would definitely work for you too!