Evan’s Remains is a story-heavy puzzle-platformer with gorgeous pixel art graphics. The game opens with a man named Evan Goldstein who has been missing for several years breaking silence to announce that he is on a remote tropical island and should only be found by a woman named Dysis. The player then assumes the role of said woman as she explores said island, solving a number of platforming puzzles on her way to both discovering and solving far more mysteries than she set out for.
It’s a short game – two hours, maybe three if a few of the puzzles really stump you – built around a small and simple set of mechanics. The platforms the player must use in order to reach the goal of each puzzle have special effects triggered by either landing or jumping off of them, ranging from moving other platforms, teleporting the player, causing other platforms to appear/disappear, or disappear themselves. Despite this small pool, the puzzle design is such that each level feels fun and satisfying to solve while maintaining a perfect difficulty to let the player feel smart for figuring out a solution. The movement is tight and, even for such an ultimately low-stakes game (for there are no game over screens) adds to the feeling of satisfaction while playing.
Beyond that, there’s not a whole lot to say. Without getting into spoilers the story is an emotional and thought-provoking entry within the speculative fiction genre, and I was just as compelled to keep playing to find out what would happen next as I was to have fun solving platform puzzles. The twists were unexpected without feeling cheap and the ending was emotionally rewarding after only two hours to get attached to the characters. Though it feels strange to write such a brief review, I’ll wrap up by saying this: I haven’t been able to stop running over the events of Evan’s Remains in my head in the days since I played it, and if that doesn’t speak to the quality of the storytelling I don’t know what will.
Evan’s Remains is one of those games that you can play in an afternoon and then spend all evening on the feelings and big things it gives you to think about.