Publisher: Annapurna Interactive
Developer: Giant Sparrow
Release Date: 4/25/2017
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It’s surprising that over the last 10 years it’s the indie game that has the most touching and memorable stories. Even with AAA game’s million-dollar budgets, they can’t seem to get a decent story with armies of writers and directors. What Remains of Edith Finch may be called a “walking simulator” by the younger crowd, but these slower-paced adventure games are usually the most touching and memorable. You play as a girl who is slowly unlocking the mystery of why every member of her family died in a large house built from the ground up on the oceanside.
The game starts out simple enough where you walk down linear winding paths and the character narrates along the way. The text floats along where you walk and it’s an immersive way to tell a story. Once you enter the house you will eventually find your way through mysterious rooms through secret passageways and in each room is a piece that will bring you into their story. This is the most unique part about this game is that each story is so different and is told in unique ways. One story has you playing as several animals in the first person as the boy tells his story, in one story you are just trying to swing as high as you can so you can fly. One story towards the end has you cutting fish heads in a factory and you play a 2D RPG on the side while still trying to cut the fish heads. As the story goes on it gets more detailed and expands in your view. The game is very imaginative with my favorite piece being a 1960s horror comic and the panels come to life with you playing a character in some of them. The game never gets boring or old, and the short length helps keep the game from overstaying its welcome or doing too much.
My biggest complaint is that there’s not much to interact with outside of initially entering the house. Once you get through the first few rooms you just go from room to room and find the main story piece. The pacing is great as it doesn’t get too fast so you feel the rest of the game is too slow. There are also different themes throughout the game such as horror, adventure, happiness, sadness, and the house itself is a haunting and empty, and lonely feeling. This game oozes atmosphere and you get different feelings from each room as you discover the fate of each family member. There’s so much detail in this game and the visuals are quite nice for an indie title in this manner.
Sadly, due to the type of game, this it won’t be played by many people which is a dying shame as What Remains is probably one of the best games to come out this year. The story is memorable, the game has plenty of atmosphere and character, and there’s so much to love about the game. If you’re a fan of Gone Home or just great stories in general then you will love this game.