Switch version tested
Review code provided
Survival Horror is one of the most varied genres in gaming, it can fit into so many formula’s from first-person, third-person and top-down with the elements that make it a “horror” being down the player’s experience. Sometimes slow-paced suspense with jump scares do the trick, other titles aim for intense combat against hoards of grotesques to get the players heart racing. Whatever flavour suits your horror preferences there are likely a few titles to choose from.
Remothered: Tormented Fathers looks to join the party, coming from Italian developers Stormind Games, Remothered was originally released on PS4, Xbox and PC in 2018 and has now been ported to our favourite hybrid the Nintendo Switch. Take control of Rosemary Reeds who happens to bear a striking resemblance to a young Jodie Foster as she looks to uncover the truth behind the case of a missing child. As she heads to the Felton Estate to look for answers it becomes apparent that some dark secrets lay within the walls of this creepy old mansion.
After an initial introduction to the key characters takes place in the opening sequence the game really begins as you seek to explore the dark halls while being stalked by the primary villain of the piece, Richard Felton, an old man who slightly resembles Vincent Price and will be stalking you constantly in nothing but an apron and welly boots so expect to see plenty of his wrinkly old ass as you hide and sneak around.
Essentially this will be the bulk of the gameplay, sneaking around, looking for clues, solving puzzles and avoiding being captured and murdered. Puzzles will be familiar to resident evil fan’s as they generally consist of finding the right item or items to use and combine to gain access to floor grates and grandfather clocks. As you explore the mansion you will find defence and distraction items which can be put to good use, throwing a vase and causing a loud noise will attract Felton to that location allowing you to sneak around him. If he catches you, you can fend him off with a defence item which take the form of kitchen knives, knitting needles and so on, which will stun him momentarily in order for you to make your escape. These item’s are single-use to make sure to grab a new one as often as possible as death is instant if he gets his clammy hands on you.
Hide and seek is a mechanic that has graced many a horror game over the past few years and is a key ingredient for Remothered. The game pacing is slow and methodical so a tiptoe through the tulips will be the order of the day here. As Felton approaches you will hear him muttering to himself which is a nice touch so you don’t just turn a corner and get pounced on but the repeated dialogue soon starts to grate as he mutters the same phrases over and over “I need to sleep” “Where did I put the damn pills” It would have been a better experience if he actively commented on his surroundings, maybe muttering about a portrait and its history to fill in some back story more dynamically or noticing an item had been picked up or moved indicating his suspicion that you are in that area. As it is, Remothered focuses on the tried and tested formula of finding letters and documents scattered around the mansion to fill in the details of your investigation, although there is nothing wrong with this concept, the text on these documents is extremely small and a struggle to read even in docked mode, switching to handheld you pretty much have to pretend the switch screen is a virtual boy if you have any hope of reading the text which was a major let down considering the game’s plot falls flat without the use of the documents.
In the early going Remothered does a good job of setting up some suspense and tension with you being walked through your first encounter with hints on how to hide as well as finding and utilising items. While hiding you are presented with a mini-game to keep your breathing under control so Felton cant find you. From there the first couple of encounters are tense with great use of music and the controls feeling clunky enough to give you the impression you are just an average person not some hardcore survival expert. The tension soon evaporates when you realise Felton will lose track of you pretty much as soon as you break his line of sight and generally he can be outmanoeuvred with ease. Although he may take a swipe at you and cause injury to slow you down you can be healed by mirrors that also act as save points similar to those found in The Evil Within.
Once the tension and suspense are lost the game just plods along quite easily with little more than a few puzzles to interact with. Depending on your experience with similar titles the experience is pretty short-lived, coming in at just a couple of hours though this is the first in a trilogy, with the follow up Remothered: Broken Porcelain due for release in early 2020.
When Remothered first launched on Nintendo Switch it suffered greatly in presentation, the textures were muddy, bland and almost laughable. The portraits and paintings that adorned the walls along with the elegant rugs and carpets were all just blurred messes. In the opening section as you walk up to the mansion the walkways, puddles, trees and gardens were blurred making the DS port of resident evil look like The Last of Us by comparison. That being said, Stormind reached out and informed reviewers that a patch was in the works to improve visuals and performance, credit where it’s due, they did a great job. Upon revisiting the title the textures have been greatly improved with the interior and exterior of the mansion looking much sharper. Granted the switch version isn’t quite on par with its PS4 and Xbox cousins but it now looks much more like a title worthy of the system which shows the team’s dedication to its creation and wanting to provide players with the best experience possible. Sound design and voice acting is to a high quality overall despite the previously mentioned annoyance of repeated dialogue with cut scenes looking particularly polished.
Remothered: Tormented Fathers is a competent title overall but lacks any real oomph to set it apart from similar titles. The story hints at interesting idea’s but becomes a bit too cliche, this could be down to the short playtime of the title. Time will tell where the series goes with two instalments on the way but we look forward to following the journey that Stormind has begun. Remothered is worth picking up if you see it on sale in the eShop for a few hours of hide and seek action or just want to expand your horror collection but the experience is just too short to warrant the full price.
TBG Score: 7/10
Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release Date: 06/09/2019
No. of Players: 1
Category: Survival Horror, Action
Developer: Strormind Games
Publisher: Darril Arts
Download link: eShop