Evan’s Remains is a beautiful game where the story is more puzzling than the riddles. It is a short, story-driven adventure with simple gameplay that’s full of tough decisions and mystery.

When I first glimpsed Evan’s Remains, I couldn’t imagine that I’ll develop so many feelings in so little time. Tension, sadness, joy, and amusement were but a small part of them, tangled together in a 2.5 hour-long run.

Finding Evan

Evan is a genius boy who disappeared a long time ago but suddenly reaches out to you in a mysterious letter. You being a girl named Dysis, whom Evan invited to an unmapped island to come and look for him. Dysis goes on behalf of an organization called Up-Bring, with many resources and some cutting-edge technologies at her disposal.

As she starts exploring the beautiful island, she discovers strange monoliths that stand in her way. Although she can just go around them, Dysis decides to solves her way through. With the guidance of her operator, Nikola, she begins her mission.

At a certain point, you’ll meet Clover, a boy with a mission very similar to your own – to unravel the mysteries of the island. This is when the plot thickens, so to speak. You’ll play through two different timelines, and scratch your head with bewilderment as the questions start piling up. I dare say that I’m still a little bit confused and uncertain whether I really understood the story.

Evan's Remains - puzzles

Honestly, Evan’s Remains’ plot would fit perfectly in a conspiracy theory blog. It is undoubtedly more convoluted than those kooky 5G theories.

Jumping to Conclusions

Playing Evan’s Remains is straight forward. You’ll need rudimentary 2D platformer skills like running and jumping, as well as the ability to plan ahead. The controls are pretty responsive, and I didn’t experience any trouble with them while playing, which crucial in a platformer.

Each monolith is comprised of different types of tiles, and the learning curve is quite mild. Though the game will not tell you what a new kind of block does, you’ll quickly discover it yourself – it’s part of the challenge.

Your main goal in solving the monolith puzzles is to make your way to the next one. As it happens, each monolith represents a word in an unknown language, which Clover translates for you until you unravel the mysteries of the island. Story moments occur in between monolith puzzles and will get you closer to the final conclusion.

The developers emphasized the story rather than the puzzles. Only a handful of them stopped me in my tracks, and I managed to solve most of them through pure instinct, without much thought.

The further you get in the game, the longer and more complex the riddles become. But more tiles don’t always mean a harder puzzle, and you might encounter one that stomps you quite early on. That said, I did find the complex ones quite enjoyable and not too frustrating.

Evan's Remains uses a lovely pixel-art style

Pixelated Beauty

The artistic design of Evan’s Remains is mesmerizing, detailed, and smooth. Everything uses a lovely pixel-art style, from the opening screen through character dialogues to gameplay effects. Even the dust particles that rise from the ground while jumping, using tiles, and so forth are well animated.

In conversations, characters look like slightly-pixelated anime characters, and their personalities beautifully shine through the drawings. I enjoyed seeing their facial expressions during story moments, as they added grace to the dialogues. During gameplay, the characters are almost as vivid as their portraits in the conversation window.

Though character design is crucial, the landscapes have a higher impact on the player. In Evan’s Remains, they look fantastic. The sceneries are just gorgeous and sometimes were more puzzling than the puzzles themselves (see what I did there?). Since you spend a lot of time running along the island’s shoreline, you’ll see Dysis and the landscape reflected from the water and delight at how the wind moves trees, petals, and Dysis’ hair.

Evan's Remains review

The soundtrack has an 8-bit quality to it that fits right in with the visuals. The music (and sometimes lack-there-of) complements both the story and the gameplay and plays an integral part in the storytelling. The other sound effects are also perfectly done and even have some nuance to them. For example, the characters’ chatter in conversation is comprised of short monotonous sounds, with each character having its own pitch.

I enjoyed my short time with Evan’s remains, even though it wasn’t much of a challenge. The compelling plot alone was enough to tip the scales in its favor. The attractive design and the pleasant soundtrack are a nifty bonus.

Now, all that remains is for you to play it as well.

Developer: maitan69 (Matías Schmied)

Publisher: Whitethorn Digital

Release Date: Jun. 11, 2020

Genre: Puzzle Platformer

Available On: PC, NS, PS4, XBO

Reviewed On: NS

Our Evan’s Remains review copy was provided by the publisher.

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