When you’re offered a review code for a game, the polite thing to do is say, “Ah, yes. Graciously accepted, my good fellow. I’d love to cover your title”. But when it’s a horror title and an FPS… on the Nintendo Switch, why did you say yes to Remorse: The List?!
I’ll tell you why. With six monthly payments, I’ll release my secret so you can earn $64,000 a minute. Wait – wrong post. Here’s why.
Remorse: The List is from Feardemic, and they have an eye for horror (the recently reviewed Perseverance: Complete Edition and the elusive Darq, which I’m keen to play). Today they’ve released this game developed by Ashkandi and Truthkey for the Switch, but initially available on Steam. Did I mention it’s an FPS?
Well, it’s not a dedicated FPS, but it has those mechanics. Primarily, Remorse: The List is a survival horror with limited resources, uncomfortable lighting and general ambience, and enough mystery that makes you want to peer around each corner despite crapping yourself. Absence can create presence, and the carrot-dangling of scares is pretty damn good. The visuals, too – but more in a mo.
Remorse: The List Switch Review
Set in the Hungarian town of Hidegpuszta, you find yourself with an ambiguous list and must piece together its meaning and what the eff is going on. Though the city is segmented into numerous districts, Remorse: The List is more or less an open-world approach, doing things in your preferred order. Most likely locating where the ammo is and trying to make sense of everything. Your character is in a pickle, and if you remove the cosmic horror element, there’s a slight Lovecraft feel to it.
Though you aren’t likely to encounter a Shoggoth, there are some creepy-as-you-like enemies, notably, the early ‘units’ that run around in straitjackets with their heads tilted back, gawping at the stars/ceiling, but running at you in an alarming manner. The gun combat is satisfying enough, but the melee aspect isn’t so much and a last resort at first, but with ammo management, it eventually becomes a necessity. But it’s not all brawn, as there are some decent first-person puzzles to solve, with just the right amount of challenge.
The story in these type of games aren’t typically the strongest, but the psychological element was a pull. Is the protagonist mad? What’s scarier than what our minds can create based on past experiences, future predictions and general perception? Marriage. There’s a lot more, but that part of Remorse: The List works well. But perhaps the biggest surprise is the quality of the Nintendo Switch.
Since getting a Steam Deck last year, I tend to play that almost exclusively now – the Nintendo only gets a look when it’s time for some Mario Kart or a title to review. Mildly pessimistic that an FPS would look shit on the Switch; I was pleasantly surprised by how good this port is. It works well with no noticeable slowdown. Arguably the lighting adds to the mood/creates a certain illusion, even if, at times, it’s a little too dark to see what’s going on. But that adds to the mystery and insecurities of one losing their mind.
A lack of a map also helps as it’s easy to get lost in the city at times. This is one of the things I like least about old-school FPS like Doom, as I’d always be wandering around, backtracking and trying to find my way out. While there is a fair share of backtracking here, the feeling of being lost is part of the design and adds to the effect rather well. Again, that comment about uncomfortable works, and for the right reason.
Let me reiterate how good Remorse: The List looks on the Switch. Looks aren’t everything, ask your partner, but it adds to the appeal of creating a nightmare environment where you try to make sense of it. If this were Minecraft, it wouldn’t work. Decent puzzles, an atmospheric playground, and a decent pace make this a game that’s been a pleasant surprise.