Remedy: A Carol Reed Mystery
First posted on 15 November 2014. Last updated on 15 November 2014.
For more than a decade, husband and wife Mikael and Eleen Nyqvist worked as producers of short films. In 2004, wanting to tackle a new medium to cater to a larger audience, they cofounded MDNA Games in their hometown of Norrköping, Sweden. A picturesque city steeped in history with breathtaking environs, Norrköping served as a perfect natural backdrop for their company's debut adventure game—Remedy: A Carol Reed Mystery
In this game, you play the role of Carol Reed (voiced by Sara Louise Eriksson), a young British native who is holidaying overseas in Norrköping and house-sitting an apartment for her friend Lovisa for the summer. Carol's stay in Norrköping, originally planned for only a few weeks, is extended indefinitely when she receives news that her detective friend Conrad Vogel has just passed away. Carol also learns that Conrad has been trying to get in contact with her urgently about a new case for help. Being an amateur sleuth herself, Carol decides to pick up the trail of clues left behind by her friend to try to solve his final case. Little does Carol know, however, that this case will unravel a mystery that may have led to her friend's untimely death.
The game installs smoothly and free of any glitches. Starting the game brings up a pop-up menu from which you can select New game, Load game, or Exit. An option can be selected to play the game at a resolution of 800x600 pixels, which is the native resolution for the game. Playing the game on higher resolutions will give a letterboxing or pillarboxing effect. Once a new game starts, a tutorial screen appears that explains the game's various cursors, navigation controls, and the inventory interface. Clicking the right mouse button anywhere on the screen brings up the menu from where you can save your current game, load a previously saved game, or exit.
The game begins in Lovisa's apartment that you are house-sitting. You read a postcard from Lovisa on the table saying that she will not be back at home for some time. Shortly after, you hear the mail being delivered through the mail slot at the door. It is a letter from Katarina Vogel informing you of Conrad's recent passing. You have helped Conrad on a case some time ago. He is a noted private detective with his own agency. Katarina also sends along a letter addressed to you by Conrad. Upon reading Conrad's letter, you learn that he has been working on a very complex case for some time before his death. In the letter, he also pleads with you for help to solve his case. It is now up to you to get down to the crux of the case and to find out if Conrad's death is by natural causes, by accident, or by murder. You will even need to risk your life before learning the truth behind his death.
The game supports an unlimited number of save slots. Even though you cannot die, it is advisable to save frequently as it is easy to lose track of your progress while gleaning around for clues. You can also type in a short description for reference whenever you make a save.
The game is built using Adventure Maker, a popular tool for easy creation of point-and-click games without any scripting or programming. Still photographs are used to create the game's environment. Hotspots are then superimposed on these photographs for interaction. According to the developer, over 1,000 photographs have been used to create all of the game's indoor and outdoor scenes. While the photographs used for the characters remain untouched, many of the photographs used for the backgrounds have been retouched to give the impression of a watercolor painting. The end result is artistic pleasing and quite impressive, especially with some of the countryside scenes that strongly resemble a Monet painting.
The game plays from a first-person perspective. Each time you glean a new clue leading to a new location, that location will appear on a map with which you can then use to travel to there. There are a total of 12 locations of interest which you will need to visit before solving the case. Most of these locations must be visited more than once over the course of your investigation.
The plot is interesting and well developed. Carol's motivation to solve the case is explained well, as is her relationship with other characters in the game. Not surprisingly, the truth behind Conrad's death is far more complex than you are initially led to believe. As more and more suspects are introduced, all of them seem to stand to make a fortune and thus have a motive for ridding of Conrad. Only at the end of the game do you really crack the case. You also learn that Carol decides to take over Conrad's business to become a private investigator, thus leaving the way open for many more cases for Carol to solve in the future.
The puzzles are well integrated and do not feel contrived. Most of them are inventory based. Some of them require knowledge of colors, numbers, or sounds to open wall safes or security locks. All of the puzzles are relatively easy to solve. There are no mazes, sliders, or timed puzzles. You cannot skip any puzzle, however.
Carol speaks with an authentic English accent, while the other major characters speak English with various European accents. Conversation with other characters is carried by choosing from a short list of dialog topics or questions at the bottom of the screen. The sound effects are excellent, ranging from a doorbell chiming to birds chirping to squeaking doors to thumping footsteps. The musical score is composed by Nyqvist himself and consists of 22 original compositions.
The game takes up to 10 hours to complete. There are 28 items to be found in the game. Gameplay is linear in that you must find the right clue to open up the map to reveal a new location.
In sum, MDNA Games has done a remarkable job in its debut adventure game. For fans of fictional detective mystery, this game is an easy recommendation. At a minimum, the game offers a great tour of the city of Norrköping and its picturesque environs.