Another independent game release using the Adventure Maker software, Remedy hails from Sweden and is one of the prettiest games going around. Whilst reminiscent of The Sydney Mystery and A Quiet Weekend in Capri, in that the game uses real life locations from the maker's home town of Norrkoping, this time the photos have been touched up to look like watercolour paintings, and I thought the result was excellent. In close up the image and resolution is sharp enough that you can look for the items you need, but otherwise the scenes had that soft smudgy look you associate with many watercolour paintings. I liked it a lot.
Remedy casts you in the role of Carol, a young English woman on vacation in Sweden. A detective friend of hers has passed away, and she learns through a letter of a case he was working on at the time of his death. She is soon caught up in trying to resolve his final case, and its threads start to suggest there is much more to it than at first it appeared.
Like other Adventure Maker games (Lifestream and The Arrangement are some others) game play is straight forward point and click. A small range of cursors will indicate actions that can be performed, and the directions in which you can move. An inventory drops down from the top of the screen when you move the mouse to the top edge, and it's right click to get the save and other menus. Conversation options will appear at the bottom of the screen, and everything is subtitled. It's all very neat and simple, and offers the opportunity to jump straight in and get playing with a minimum of fuss.
There are very few outright puzzles in Remedy, most conundrums being find and use the right inventory item(s) in the right spot. Some items will only be found though, if you pay attention to detail, and combining some items is critical to moving on. There are no timed puzzles, no dead ends that I came across, and you don't die. You will have to tap out a short musical sequence, and colour plays a part in at least one puzzle, but it isn't a difficult game, and the conundrums shouldn't cause you to come to a grinding halt. It is a game well suited to all ages and experience.
Looking around can sometimes be a bit fiddly, as you can only get some views when standing in a particular spot. I have noticed this with other Adventure Maker games which means there is the tendency for some places/objects to be a little hard to find. But if you are methodical, you should find everything (and everywhere) you need to, even if not on the first occasion.
There are some in game characters, which are essentially still photos of real people superimposed on the backgrounds. I thought they looked a little stuck-on, but it was a small thing. The voice work is reasonably ok, if somewhat variant in volume between characters. There is no movement to the characters, but the photos will change as you progress through a conversation. The person concerned might also be somewhere else next time you come across them.
Whilst the sights of Norrkoping are used in the game, the sounds aren't. There is a musical soundtrack to accompany your adventuring, and a small number of sound effects associated with your actions. What I would have liked most in terms of sound was to have heard Swedish. Carol is English, so people speaking to her in English is explicable, but some Swedish would have added to the experience.
As well as looking around Norrkoping, you may also learn a little more about the town and some of its landmarks. There are a few locations and also a few documents which give some background information to Norkopping's history and events. I confess, had you asked me to think of something to associate with a Swedish town, I would not have thought of a cactus.
There is a map to access the various locations, and new locations will open up as you learn and discover things. Whilst there is a fairly linear progression through the game, not everything you come across can be solved as you find it, some puzzles requiring information and items you will find in places you can't yet access.
The plot in Remedy never reached any great heights, and the ending was rather flat, but it had enough substance to carry it through its 4 to 5 hours of playing time. Whilst it isn't Myst, it was an engaging interlude, as many of these indy games are. The approach to the graphics will also ensure it remains remembered for a while yet.
This game can be purchased online from the Official Remedy Website.
Copyright © Steve Ramsey 2004.
All rights reserved.
Win 98 (200 or XP recommended, Pentium 400 MHz, 32 MB RAM, 2 MB video card, 300 MB hard disc space, CD ROM, mouse.