It’s a pleasant experience to play
this fifth installment of the Carol Reed series, like looking at a
friend’s snapshots, or thumbing through a glossy coffee table book while
daydreaming of a vacation in Sweden. There’s no violence, no vulgarity,
and nothing is going to jump out and scare you off your seat. Like all
the other Carol Reed games, it is beautiful to look at, runs flawlessly,
and while you’re admiring the scenery there is a mystery to investigate.
The game is point and click, with a snapshot
presentation with no panning. The cursor becomes an arrow to move, a hand
to interact with the surroundings, a gear icon to indicate an action can
be performed, and a magnifying glass when a location can be more closely
examined. Inventory is accessed by sweeping the cursor to the top of the
page. A right click makes saving, loading and exiting the game easy.
Saving your game can be done anywhere outside of dialogs, you can name
your save, and the save spaces were ample. A gentle and thorough tutorial
showing all these actions is available at the startup, which should make
even the newest adventurer feel in a comfort zone.
The puzzles are simple and logical, mostly inventory
based and well integrated into the story in this first person, point and
click adventure. I appreciated that I could suspend belief and pick up
inventory items here and there for later use, rather than having to do
busy work in finding them again.
In this game the addition of a hint system is very nice
-- a feature I would like to see in more adventure games. If you find
yourself stuck there is a log book to access which has two tiers of hints.
On the left page, locations are indicated to show where you need to visit
to make the game progress. If you click one of these, hints appear on the
right page of the log book.
Carol moves to these locations via a map, which makes
changing locations a breeze. Each location has an exit to the map. During
the course of dialog with characters she meets or evidence unearthed, new
locations are added to the map. I really like the flashing map icon which
appears briefly when a new location is activated, accompanied by a sound
“Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the
bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and
feel the wind.”—Ashley Smith
In the first game of the series “Remedy,” Carol traveled
to Norrkoping, Sweden on holiday from her home in Britain, and became a
private investigator by necessity. Warming to this profession, she’s
matured in her investigatory skills through the series, and become very
comfortable with making Sweden her home and with her sleuthing.
In this fifth game, an acquaintance asks Carol for help
in locating his missing son. There are overtones that the son was hanging
out with a “bad crowd” and may be somehow tied to a recent murder.
Investigating the missing person’s apartment, Carol finds evidence that
there indeed may have been a threat on his life. Carol sets out to
investigate the murdered man’s environs to discover the connection to her
missing person case.
This game seems to flow more smoothly than the first
four, with a discovery at one location leading logically to the next.
However, the historical tie-in seemed a bit awkward and unnecessary to me.
“Should you shield the canyons from the
windstorms, you would never see the true beauty of their
As in all the games, there are interesting and often
beautiful places to visit. The stained glass and the rococo figurines of a
church were stunningly lovely (see if you can find the Easter egg that may
bring a smile). I enjoyed wandering through an historic preservation site
of petroglyphs drawn during the Bronze Age. There’s an exquisite scene
near a brook that shows the sun rays reaching down to the little houses
that could be a framed work of art. In all honesty, the photography is so
good in the game, that even a limestone quarry is mysterious and
appealing. The opening scene of a street at night captured in the glow of
a streetlight, accompanied by the splattering of raindrops as they meet
the cobblestones below, is magnificent. I would like to see more night
scenes if they can be as beautiful as this, and was disappointed I didn’t
see this scene in the game. I do mean night scenes to see the effect of
light on the surroundings, and not tunnels or dark rooms. No dark rooms
that can never be lit up appropriately appeared in this game for which I
was thankful, and the tunnel was actually fun and of short duration.
The first time through the game, I thought the developer
had abandoned the surreal watercolor effect that I so enjoyed in the early
games. A second and a third playthrough made me aware that it’s there, but
much more subtle. I would like it a bit more surreal, but it is gorgeous
nonetheless. It’s clear that this time the photographer was more
interested in capturing reflections, and that effect is plentiful.
“We live only to discover beauty. All else is a
form of waiting.”—Kahlil Gibran
The ambient sound is exceptional. Papers rustle
appropriately, horns blare in the distance, birdcalls are in the air,
water rushes down a creek. The accompanying music is appropriate, and its
simplicity adds a sweet charm to the beauty of the scenes. I especially
appreciated the music at the brook, which sounded like a dreamy lullaby.
Voiceovers are generally serviceable, and Carol Reed is as always done
One of the nice things in these games is that on
occasion you can divert from the story path and just have a look through
nooks and crannies that have considerable allure. I was very pleased to be
allowed into a gift shop and to be able to view the merchandise. I only
wished that I could tweak the nose of the Reindeer toy that was so very
enticing. There’s also an organ in a different location that you can play
if your heart desires.
“Love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty
is Art.”—Ralph Waldo Emerson
There are always some quibbles with a game, and this is
no different. Sometimes the movement is awkward, items easy to miss and
locations become a maze as you get turned around. I became lost in an art
studio and couldn’t find an exit for quite a while. The Industrial park
may also be somewhat challenging to navigate. Perhaps if the movement
arrows were spaced a little further apart, a larger view would make
movement less bothersome.
There’s a strange quality to these games regarding the
character interaction. In first person view, you see the other characters
in captured poses showing emotion, as the voiceovers answer questions.
Maybe it’s just me, but it seems a bit creepy. I couldn’t connect with any
of the characters, and even Carol seldom displays emotion. Perhaps hearing
more vocalized thoughts would help in this regard.
While many of the characters are introduced for the
first time in this game, I was happy to see our eccentric, many-earringed
janitor appear twice, and our handsome gardener make an appearance.
There’s a rather delightful puzzle associated with the janitor that was
quirky and fun. I don’t understand, with the warm reception that the
gardener has received, why he doesn’t play a larger part in these games.
In any case, seeing them was like greeting old friends. To be fair, Stina
at the store is available to visit with more regularity. Unfortunately,
she’s involved with a puzzle that seemed odd by its inclusion.
With the pace of the game serene and calm, it seems a
bit out of sorts to place a timed puzzle at the end. In all fairness, I
played the game three times and didn’t notice that puzzle was timed, so
the time allowed must be fairly ample. If you exceed the time limit, you
are directly returned to the scene for another try.
There are some puzzles in which color differentiation is
necessary. There are no sound puzzles or sliders.
“People are like stained glass windows. They
sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in;
their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from
It is obvious that this game is a labor of love from
this independent developer. The low price alone for the content makes this
a bargain, taking longer to complete than some other recent games at a
much higher price. While it will not be for everyone, it surely fits a
niche for those who love to look at beautiful scenery, dream of foreign
lands, and do some thoughtful detective work to boot.
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