Evan’s Remains is an unusual mix of a puzzle game, platformer, and visual novel. And guess what? It works pretty well!
Here’s a little background on the game’s story without spoiling the plot – which would be difficult to do in a short review anyway since it is quite convoluted. You play as a mysterious female character who goes on a mission to find a famous person who has gone missing. A letter suggests that the missing person, whose name is Evan, could be on a remote Pacific island.
When you arrive on the island, you quickly discover ruins with mysterious hieroglyphs from a lost civilization. You also learn that the island is not actually uninhabited. A teenage boy named Clover is also on the island. When you first meet him, he’s aggressively scribbling notes, which he later reveals is his attempt at deciphering the hieroglyphs.
I’ll leave the story at that, since I probably have already said too much. But the story plays out like a text-based “who did it?” crime thriller. Interspersed between the rather lengthy conversations are two or three puzzles for you to solve.
The developer, Matías Schmied, does a good job of introducing the different mechanics one at a time. You start off learning that once you land on a platform, the platform disappears after you jump off of it. There are also platforms – I’ll just call them pressure platforms – that make other platforms appear and disappear.
By the way, this is a 2D side-scrolling game. The 2D platforms appear on-screen with a vertical column blocking your path. In order to advance, you have to make it over the top of the column. And to do that, you have to navigate what is basically a spatial puzzle.
In terms of moves, your character moves left and right. She also jumps. That’s it. There is no combat. There is no dragging box or crates. The goal is for you to utilize the platforms in a way that has you reach the top of the column blocking your path and continuing on to the next puzzle.
As you get deeper into the game, different platforms are introduced. There are platforms that act as a two-way teleporter. There is a platform that acts like a trampoline when you jump on it. There are color-coded platforms that shift like-colored platforms from one location to another location on the screen.
The game gets progressively harder as you encounter more platform types. The complexity comes from having to use two or more of the platform types to solve the puzzle. It’s your job to figure out what combination of jumping, landing, falling, and teleporting helps you solve the puzzle.
Evan’s Remains is a relatively short puzzle game. I finished it in 2.5 to 3 hours. The surprisingly compelling storyline and interesting puzzles keep you powering through, even as the dialogue drags on at times. Plus, the pixel art style and retro-inspired music give the game real charm. Considering the budget price, it’s well worth checking out.
Game Freaks 365 received a free review copy.