An incessant churning strikes the ears, a hidden note obscured from your senses as you pass a metal hatch cold to the touch. Vivid, unspeakable colours flood through your retinas into the cones of your eyes, refracting a garish disco of bygone excess and artificial hostility manifested in defiance of any natural order.

You, adventurer, for better or worse, are now in a place far beyond your comprehension.

Remnants unravels slowly, a brilliant neon tapestry in the form of a simple RPG that dazzles the senses at every possible moment, from the unconventional soundtrack assault of near-binaural beats to the welcoming-yet-disturbing visuals protruding from every concrete orifice. Underneath the familiar crunch of grass and the pines that billow in the wind is an alien landscape on the brink of unreality. The solutions to the puzzles are never too far out of reach, encouraging the perfect mix of exploring every inch without holding the player back from the wondrous and horrific sights.

June Flower’s art is exceptionally precision crafted, a monumental effort put forth with vigorous passion, evoking the same feeling you get when traversing the world of Knytt for the first time. There is a haunting stillness here, a high contrast gravitas that demands your full attention at all times, compelling you deeper and deeper into the layered depths of the game.

What starts off as an endearing if slightly unsettling endeavor in spelunking dressed in a healthy coating of a LOOM-esque color palette quickly becomes an eldritch mystery plunging you directly into the mysteries of alchemical processes. In the presence of the mystics of the Old Ways, reality beings to flay itself apart from coherency despite your best efforts to maintain nerves of steel and an unrelenting thirst for what dwells within, as it thirsts in turn.

You would be hard pressed to find a game with atmosphere this enticing outside of works like LISA: The Painful, it is absolutely one of the first must plays of 2020.

If you’re brave enough to seek out true wisdom, then perhaps you can find a way to restore peace to the forests above… but tread lightly lest your quest consume you in the clutches of darkness, to be dissolved in a vacuous maw of pure immanence.

Emily Rose is an indie developer who writes for and resides in the pacific northwest. She’s often seen in the local VR arcade and developer community participating in pushing the medium’s horizons. You can find her on twitter @caravanmalice