Review

Evan’s Remains Review – A Middle Mystery

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Most genre hybrids take aspects of different types of games and blend them into one seamless experience. In an action / RPG, for example, players usually cannot tell where the “action” ends and where the “RPG” begins. Evan’s Remains is different; it combines a visual novel and a puzzle game, but each genre remains distinct and intact. It alternates between puzzle-solving sequences and story scenes, but never feels disjointed. Instead, Evan’s Remains is a sleek, side-scrolling indie that injects variety at the right times, even as it struggles with its defining elements. You control Dysis, a young woman who shows up on a mysterious island in search of a missing genius named Evan. That’s all you know at first, but the tale becomes more complicated as you go along, bringing in other characters and additional mysteries. Like a visual novel, the scenes unfold through text boxes and character portraits, though you also have plenty of opportunities to appreciate the excellent pixel art and animation. The story is punctuated, with a series of questions to follow. Where’s Evan? Who is this dark figure? What is the secret of the island? I enjoyed looking for the answers, but the story ends with an absurd twist that retroactively makes the characters and events less interesting, so the journey ends with a shrug instead of a bang. Narrative sequences are only part of the experience, serving as intermediaries that give you breaks between puzzles – single-screen challenges that require you to jump over a barrier on the other side. Different blocks can teleport you, launch you into the air, and disappear once you jump. I love how all of these are combined in a way that gives each puzzle a unique approach, so you don’t jump through the exact same hoops from one to the other. And even if you run and jump through 2D blocks, platforming isn’t all about skill. I like that success is more about experimentation and logic; once I figured out what to do, I never had a hard time executing the plan. While the experience is fun and enjoyable, Evan’s Remains also feels compelled. It’s a short game, but it’s not a problem in itself. However, the total playing time of three hours does not give enough time for the puzzle ideas to reach a satisfactory level. They always seem to stop before they make you feel smart; since solutions are always a series of mechanical leaps, they neither invite nor reward unconventional thinking. You have to imagine the clever or complex ways of layering the components, because the challenges do not themselves. This modest level of ambition certainly doesn’t make Evan’s Remains a bad puzzle game – but it doesn’t make it a great game either. Evan’s Remains successfully achieves what it attempts: it delivers a compact, punctuated story. neat puzzles. It frequently switches between these central elements, so that no idea goes beyond its welcome, but the concepts are not deep or compelling enough. A disappointing conclusion harms the story and a lack of evolution harms the puzzles; Since the game is distinctly divided into sections involving only those two things, even the best moments of Evan’s Remains carry a sense of unrealized potential.

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