In this five-part series, Kathryn and Hayley discuss some of their favorite indie mystery games. You can find part 1, which we published last week, here. In part 2, Kathryn and Hayley continue their deep-dive on “Remedy,” the first installment in the Carol Reed series. This week, they discuss the music in the game, and how it adds texture to the storyline. “Reed” into it below, or listen to our audio transcript!
Created and edited by Kathryn Cooperman and Hayley Garden. Transcript edited for clarity.
All images and audio files courtesy of MDNA Games.
Kathryn Cooperman 0:00
Another thing I liked about the series, well just in general, but especially [in] this first game, was the inclusion of music, and how it catered to the different spaces that Carol would go into. A lot of mystery games have their core theme song; Nancy Drew has one, it’s this ominous piano music where you feel like something dangerous is about to happen and you’re going to need to get your way out of the situation in order to solve a mystery, but for Carol Reed, it’s this very cute and attractive piano music.
And that same song gets reprised in the different spaces, so for example, when you’re in her apartment, you hear the high-pitched piano, it’s fast paced, [it] keeps you on your toes, you’re wondering what’s going to happen next. But then there’s a part later in the game where you get to a church, and it’s this beautiful, magnificent cathedral, and the piano music changes into a cello pizzicato, so it’s very low-toned, it goes along with the church itself, and then at the church you find out a lot about the different suspects, but really beautiful curation of music to the different spaces.
Hayley Garden 1:26
I completely agree. I really liked the soundtrack to this game. I cannot speak as beautifully as you do about music, but as a fan and connoisseur of video game soundtracks, I found it very, very pleasing to listen to, especially because it’s that same song that plays over and over again. It can be – in the hands of a lesser song – it could be annoying, it could be frustrating, but the combination of a good song and a brisk pace makes the music feel well integrated as opposed to, “I need to mute my computer. I can’t listen to this anymore.” And I also agree, I think sound design and music overall were utilized really well in this game. There was some really creepy music – really ominous and uneasy music that made me feel on edge, when we were in some of the less savory locations. When we were exploring – there was a basement, that was kind of rundown and creepy, and the music was just so perfectly atmospheric, it made me feel like I was on edge, like someone was going to come and maybe attack us from behind. That never happened in the game or anything, but it made me want to get out of there, it made me want to find what we needed to find as fast as we could and just get out of that basement. You owe that to good music and good sound design, and I think [the] Carol Reed [games have] both of those in spades, for sure.
Agreed. Yeah, that high pitched glockenspiel in the basement was like, just get me out of here! The character we had to visit at that apartment complex was also just equally sketchy, we were [thinking], “is he the culprit or not?” It just really leaves you guessing at every turn, but that made it very real for me, and I did have to mute the computer, remember, at that point, because we were so scared. [Editor’s note: the glockenspiel actually comes up later in the series, but the basement music in “Remedy” is actually a creepy, low-toned, ambient track]
And it just made me uncomfortable. I didn’t want to listen to that scary, uncomfortable song anymore, but that just means that it was effective. It was well used, well written, well composed music, so hats off to [the] Carol Reed [team] for being able to write such a good soundtrack. I really do like that main theme, the piano theme. I think it’s very pleasant and charming, and it’s exactly as charming as it needs to be to reflect how charming the rest of the game is.
It’s so beautiful. I find myself listening to it on YouTube, when I’m just going about my day, you know, that’s when you know that a piece of music has succeeded in telling a story.
And it’s just, it’s relaxing. It’s the kind of music I’d put on if I’m falling asleep or something, or studying for a test, or trying to work. It’s really, really good.
Definitely. The music does get reprised in the later games. They do say that you don’t need to have played the earlier games to enjoy the later ones, but I find it is good to play the earlier games because you get context for what the later installations have to offer, and you do see certain characters getting developed more. The music, the signature piano music, does get reprised later on, and they find even more ways to vary it, and for example, we meet Carol’s – well, he becomes her boyfriend – Jonas, but we meet him at first at the church, and then his character gets developed even more, but that kind of plants the seeds for their relationship. Later on he comes up in the games, and he’s just there to help her, and give her information, do research to help her with her mysteries. But yeah, in this first game, I felt that a lot of the later circumstances for the later games get set up in an expert way.
I have not played too many of the later games, so I am simply going to have to trust you on that. But I do appreciate when a game can be a standalone story, and also have these little callbacks to give hints that this is sort of a larger thing. I mean, in this current pop culture landscape that we live in where everything needs to be interconnected to everything else, it’s nice to have a game, and a story, that stands on its own and doesn’t necessarily need context from a wider narrative, but can still be that much sweeter if you have the context from earlier games. It’s kind of striking that duality, trying to find that middle ground of, “this can exist on its own,” but you appreciate Carol and Jonas, and their scenes together, when you understand where they came from. And I think that, and I assume that it’s very successful. I can’t wait to play the rest of the games myself, and see how everything plays out. I know we have a couple on our list that look especially appealing to me. And I’m very excited to get the chance to sit down and play them.
I know, I’m excited for those.
These games are just really good. You really got me hooked on them.
So happy. Yeah, you can purchase these online – we’ll include a link within this post – but yeah, as game players ourselves and fans of mystery series, we think this is really a standout franchise and would recommend it to everyone.
10 out of 10. As someone who, again, has played all sorts of games, all sorts of genres, you don’t want to skip out on these. Definitely some of my favorites that I’ve played in the past year or so. Buy Carol Reed!
Nice. Yes. All right, thank you so much for listening, and join us next week. We’ll continue our conversation about mystery games, and we’ll add on to what we talked about today.
Join us next time for part 3!