Note: Since writing this review, but before posting it, the developers at Troglobyte Games have released a patch that makes the character animations somewhat quicker. Please bear that in mind while reading the below.
I'm normally the sort of player that will attempt to play anything - and I mean anything - with a controller. Even with stuff that normally lends itself to mouse and keyboard, genres like city builders, RTS games, hidden object games, I still plug in a controller, determined to make it work. But I've been having a bit of trouble with my hands lately, and while I wait for surgery to repair them, I've been looking for games that I can play strictly with a mouse and keyboard. The Kindeman Remedy seemed like just the sort of thing I was looking for.
The trailers for The Kindeman Remedy hit me right in the sweet spot. That is, the dark imagery on display directly engaged the part of my psyche that is still twelve years old, the kids that read every Stephen King novel and drew endless pictures of my own hand with the fingers chopped off. The piece of my being that wants to stay up all night and watch Cinemax movies with lady prisoners fighting with bicycle chains, and evil scientists performing experiments on captive campers. That fun little guy inside me doesn't get indulged very often anymore, so when I saw that The Kindeman Remedy was about a morally bankrupt prison doctor conspiring with an evil nun to do medical experiments on death row prisoners, it seemed like just the sort of thing that I would love. Island prison? Swirling gray clouds? Shadowy basement laboratories? I'm so in.
But, as it turns out, I'm 51 now, and the twelve year old that lives inside me might be a bit more distant than I had assumed. Sure, I got some dark snickers out of the opening segments of The Kindeman Remedy, but it wasn't enough to sustain my interest for even a few hours, let alone the entire seven-hour running time of the game's story.
The Kindeman Remedy shows almost all of its cards immediately, running the player through the basic loop of the game in the first half hour or so. The game runs on a day/night cycle, with the player managing both Anna the nun and Dr. Kindeman simultaneously as they work through a series of repetitive tasks. In the day, the doc mixes together medications in his lab, poisoning a few of them. He sends them up a dumbwaiter to Sister Anna, who distributes them to the prison populace, some of whom drop dead on the spot. This keeps the doc in a steady supply of dead bodies, from which he harvests research materials for his quest to...I don't know. Better the lives of humanity? Something along those lines.
Every other day, the prison fires up the old electric chair. So Doc Kindeman must remember to mix a special injection, which will allow the prisoner in question to survive the execution. Then the poor S.O.B. wakes up in the doctor's double-secret lab, where the more serious research takes place. This involves selecting from a variety of implements (saws, hammers, acid), and applying said implements to a selection of the helpless prisoners' body parts. Yes, you can throw acid on a prisoner's private parts. No, it is not entertaining. Some may be disturbed by the content, but for horror fans the violence on display is mostly of the "implied idea" variety, as opposed to the "visceral display of gore" that they might want. These torturous actions are accomplished via a simple timed button press, with a UI interface lifted right out of a golf game. Following the torture, the player must guide the doctor (or his eventually-unlocked assistant) through corpse disposal, which is slow as molasses and as entertaining as watching paint dry.
All of this is accomplished by clicking on stuff. Now, I know that pretty much every PC game could be boiled down to "clicking on stuff", but most games have various mechanics that allow the player to feel like they are doing something besides just clicking a button. But The Kindeman Remedy had me feeling more than anything like I was just endlessly clicking on various objects and waiting for timers to run out. The strategy of the game comes from clicking on stuff in the right order, and then juggling back and forth between clicking on Doc Kindeman's stuff and Sister Anna's stuff so that they can both accomplish that day's goals. Though you can stack up to three "clicks" worth of action, I still pretty much always felt like I was going through the motions, like one of those lab rats that is feeding itself cocaine by pulling a lever (or someone that plays mobile games). Click a thing, click another thing, wait for the timer, watch a slow animation play out.
As the game wears on, the player can eventually unlock some upgrades using the in-game currency (which is "reputation", earned by treating more patients than you kill). These can make timers somewhat faster, and can provide additional tools and materials to allow the player leeway to accomplish more in a day. But still, the game basically boils down to the whole treat patients, kill patients, torture dudes at night gameplay loop. For a game that contains such lurid ideas, it all gets very old, very fast. More than anything, The Kindeman Remedy feels like work, which is the last thing I want out of a game about torturing prisoners with saws and razors.
On the upside, The Kindeman Remedy is only $7.99 on Steam, and everything in the game works as promised. I suppose for that price, you might be tempted to indulge your own internal adolescent weirdo. And I must admit, 12-year-old me would have loved this game.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.
Howdy. My name is Eric Hauter, and I am a dad with a ton of kids. During my non-existent spare time, I like to play a wide variety of games, including JRPGs, strategy and action games (with the occasional trip into the black hole of MMOs). I am intrigued by the prospect of cloud gaming, and am often found poking around the cloud various platforms looking for fun and interesting stories. I was an early adopter of PSVR (I had one delivered on release day), and I’ve enjoyed trying out the variety of games that have released since day one. I've since added an Oculus Quest 2 and PS VR2 to my headset collection. I’m intrigued by the possibilities presented by VR multi-player, and I try almost every multi-player game that gets released.
My first system was a Commodore 64, and I’ve owned countless systems since then. I was a manager at a toy store for the release of PS1, PS2, N64 and Dreamcast, so my nostalgia that era of gaming runs pretty deep. Currently, I play on Xbox Series X, Series S, PS5, PS4, PS VR2, Quest 2, Switch, Luna, GeForce Now, (RIP Stadia) and a super sweet gaming PC built by John Yan. While I lean towards Sony products, I don’t have any brand loyalty, and am perfectly willing to play game on other systems.
When I’m not playing games or wrangling my gaggle of children, I enjoy watching horror movies and doing all the other geeky activities one might expect. I also co-host the Chronologically Podcast, where we review every film from various filmmakers in order, which you can find wherever you get your podcasts.
Follow me on Twitter @eric_hauter, and check out my YouTube channel here.View Profile