The number of interpretations of what it would be like to climb inside the human body on a microscopic scale are endless. This is a concept that has likely been dreamed of since before Hippocrates examined his first dead bodies. My first foray into this fascinating setting was The Fantastic Voyage, but more modern interpretations have continued, from Osmosis Jones to Inside Out to even an episode of Rick and Morty. All of these tell a similar story: some horrible disease or damage is wrought to a human being, and the protagonists must shrink themselves or otherwise find a way to enter that body to rid it of its affliction. Project Remedium has a very similar pretense, albeit with a few small changes. I've not heard of many video games that take place inside of the human body (and I'm not counting Surgeon Simulator or the Trauma Center series of games), so this is definitely treading a path less traveled.
The story begins with the host, an androgynous child thrust into the spotlight as the carrier of some awful disease. The cutscene is extraordinarily ambiguous, either because someone thought it would be easier to relate to the subject or because someone threw together a fairly lazy plot. Either way, with the details entirely missing, it's not as if you get to know the kid by any measure. They merely present a setting, but it's a setting you can hardly care for when all you know about them is that they're sick with space tuberculosis. Either way, the protagonist enters the scene, a Nano+ robot you'll be playing. He's injected into the child and your adventure begins! Right away, your Supervisor (who's named Supervisette) manages to somehow save you from a horrible corrupting influence that's screwed with the systems of every other nanobot thrown in this kid before.
After acquainting yourself with the controls, you enter the bloodstream, which begins a very long sequence of... floating. You just float along the bloodstream. This takes somewhere between a minute to 10 minutes depending on where you're going, and until you see the Loading Screen hint that tells you to shoot at stuff inside the blood veins, you have no idea if you've already messed something up. This is just the first step in Project Remedium's poor design choices. You can, while floating through the blood vessels, fire at glowing white things to gather "molecules" for your crafting recipes, but good luck knowing that. The flow of blood pulls you, eventually, to the liver, your first starting area.
Visually, Project Remedium is a treat. You'll meet various interesting characters in the hopes of cleaning up and quarantining the liver from the dangerous turbo malaria (or whatever it might be called at this point). The world actually looks alive, and I mean this literally. The ground pulses beneath your robot legs, the world is constantly moving as parts of it pulse and twist as if it were a real liver. This gives a distinctly unique feeling of being both awed and disgusted, like watching a Cirque de Soleil primarily made up of a cast of cancerous blobs. You want to look away, and yet you want to explore and see what else the world has to offer.
Unfortunately, your wish to explore is quickly extinguished by a seemingly unlimited amount fetch quests and assassination quests. Imagine, if you will, your least favorite open world game. You might have felt like the side quests never ended, but they were required to continue the plot somehow. This is Project Remedium, but turned up to 11, because those side quests are actually the main, linear storyline. You're endlessly slogging across admittedly beautiful landscapes to kill some random robot or to fetch blocks of insulin. Eventually, you might get to see some "storyline" in the form of going to a new organ, at which point you're incredibly thankful because you've seen every single inch of the one you've played in.
The beautiful environments wear on you after playing in them for so long, and eventually, they outstay their welcome. Thankfully, there's something that makes the entire experience a lot more fun: the grapnel. The grapnel is a simple button press that sends you launching towards your reticule with extreme speed and eventually allows you to launch directly into enemies. You have a set of weapons on your left and right designed to tear at enemy health and shields, but nothing will ever be as fun as using the grapnel to zip around the level like a robot Spider-Man.
Speaking of the weapons, many of your missions involve shooting things into submission. On your left is an extremely dangerous weapon, and on your right is a gun that tears up shields, then eventually, the health of your enemies. The downside to using your left weapon is that, while powerful, it actually slightly damages the organ you're in. Shooting minimally helps keep the organs healthy, creating a good balance of either using up your resources or annihilating your enemies. You can upgrade your weapons by collecting modules and leveling up, which unlocks chain lightning weapons, sniper shots, and even the amazing shotgun blast. In the end, your style of attack likely won't change much, though, as there are only around four enemies in the game, barring a few bosses. You can fight artillery bugs, shooting corrupted nanobots, or weird floating balls that melee attack you. That's about it for every single encounter you'll have.
Eventually, you'll access other organs, such as the lungs, the heart, and the stomach, but your fights in those organs will give you a sense of deja vu since they'll all be basically the same thing. You meet some nanobot that complains about not having a break time, he tells you to go kill ghosts in the colon or whatever, and you run off to do that. The voice acting for the nanobots are done well, all of them sounding like New York construction workers just trying to get through a day of hard work. Others, though, have no voice, and just subtitles that seem as if they're speaking when they're missing sound files. The subtitles show that whoever was writing the dialogue didn't have a very good English translator. Along with those bugs come many crashes, never-ending loading screens, and some FPS issues where Project Remedium otherwise runs very smoothly. The bugs are annoying, especially when there's no manual save, but it's definitely not the worst I've experienced.
Project Remedium is visually entertaining, with some excellent FPS potential that's unfortunately marred by unrelentingly boring quest objectives and an interface that needs serious work. Seeing the living breathing world inside a human body is immersive and extraordinarily cohesive art assets make the experience golden. Unfortunately, the technical bugs and the confusing characters (why are nanobots programmed with fear?!) make getting to those sights an absolute chore. It's like walking 10 miles uphill inside a cardboard box just for a view of a good sunset. At its best, Project Remedium reminded me of Bioshock. At its worst, it reminded me of an early access game that died in development. For some of us, it's worth the effort to go through annoying, painful missions and fetch quests just to see what Project Remedium thinks lungs should look like, but I can't honestly say most people would find that experience thrilling. Playing Project Remedium is like getting your first kiss: it's a great moment you'll likely remember for years, maybe in part because it gave you mono.
Our Project Remedium review was conducted on PC via Steam with a code provided by the publisher.
A solid vision is spoiled by shaky implementation. The visual and art team deserves awards, but the confusing interface, bad translations, missing parts, and bad bugs make this feel like an early access game. Fun weapons, few enemies, and a huge number of "side mission" style quests make the otherwise beautiful world feel like empty filler.
- The World Feels Alive and Moving Around You
- Interesting Weapon and Character Designs
- Surprisingly Few Fart Jokes
- Almost Every Mission Feels like an Open World Side Quest
- Suffers From a Lack of Enemies and Many Bugs
- Surfing the Blood Waves is Way Less Exciting than it Sounds