Courtesy of the fine folks at Camel 101 and Wired Productions, for the last few days I’ve been taking a look over Those Who Remain. This psychological horror is a slow moving title, with a number of tropes you’d expect within the genre. While it’s definitely not the best from the available selection, there have been some plus points. Overall I’m rating it as Approach With Caution, and you can find out why in the bitesize video just here. Alternatively, read on for the extended written review.
This horror and narrative adventure follows your protagonist through the dimly lit town of Dormont. Seemingly abandoned, you’ll travel through a number of run down areas within the town, shrouded in darkness. Following you every step of the way is an army of blue eyed beings, ready to end the journey if you step out of the light. The shadows are a dangerous area, and should you delve too deeply you’ll find an instant death awaits, with no possibility of defending yourself.
Stalking through the town’s various areas, you’ll need to solve puzzles, and make some moral decisions regarding various characters in the game. There’s enough backstory to find along your way to make things interesting, and while some puzzles feel a little dran out, I’ve enjoyed them overall.
Parent’s Eye View
Those Who Remain is rated by PEGI at 16 and by the ESRB at a mature 17+. The title contains a small amount of active violence, though with a lack of blood and some poor visuals I wouldn’t say this was the worst element from a parent’s point of view. There are bodies scattered throughout the title however, and whether attacked or suicide this may cause some issues for younger players.
There’s a fair amount of language in the title, as you might expect from a horror, covering the bases at most levels. With regards to sexual content, one of the main protagonists does appear to have exposed breasts. While it would be a stretch to say it was presented in a sexual way, this is of course something to consider.
The Run Down
Visuals – Poor: Those Who Remain opens with the familiar grainy texture familiar to a large number of titles built on Unity. While this isn’t the death knell for a title, it’s sadly joined by some poor animations, and a fair number of elements which could have done with more polish. Overall, this might be marked down as Lacking, however in addition I’ve also had a number of occasions with bugs showing lit areas as unlit and vice versa. This may not be a huge issue in most games, but in a title leaning so heavily on staying within the lit areas, it’s a real killer.
Audio – Good: The title has a decent bit of voice acting in there, and while I’ve had to replay areas I’ve not noticed too much in the way of repetition. The effects are well implemented, and overall the soundtrack does a decent job of building tension throughout.
Narrative – Good: I’ve had better, and without giving spoilers it’s a narrative which will be fairly familiar to fans of psychological horror gaming. With the various notes available to pick up throughout the different levels, you can build a good backstory, and with different endings your choices can impact on your journey.
Replay – Fair: With different endings, and a lot to pick up through the way, there’s a little here to give you an excuse to pick up and run back through.
Overall the Pixel Bandits for Those Who Remain is Approach with Caution. While it’s a title I’ve stuck with, there have been bits of it that I’ve found frustrating. With the lack of defensive ability, and instant death in the shadows, the checkpoints in the title could certainly be a lot closer. Getting thrown back a fairly long way after finding various pieces needed to complete a challenge can get on your wick.
The general speed of the title overall is quite slow, and while I’ve enjoyed the puzzles to a large extent, some are a little obtuse. For others, it sometimes feels a little like they’ve been purposefully drawn out. One thing which remains a little confusing is that while there are fires scattered about, you can make no move to take one with you. With these creatures stuck in the darkness, it would make sense to be able to arm yourself with a lit chair leg or similar. Of course, that might make things a little too easy, but while I can understand their reasons for not implementing more light bases accessories, putting them technically within reach is another area which may frustrate.
There have been a small number of times where I’ve come across truly infuriating bigs. One of which I passed in the spirit realm, and when thrown back to the last checkpoint some ten minutes ago, was still stuck in the alternate reality. As a part of this reality, when I should have been back in the real world, paths and areas I needed were simply missing. I did luckily get past this but had to reload the game in order to do so. The relatively low price point isn’t quite enough for me to say go out and give it a try, but there have been some enjoyable elements to it.