The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a short but very atmospheric horror adventure game created by Polish developer The Astronauts and released in 2014. We take on the role of paranormal investigator Paul Prospero as he follows up on a letter he received from Ethan Carter and explores what happened in the boys small, ramshackle mining village of Red Creek Valley, Wisconsin. The horror is subtle, mostly looming and hinting, and the main draw of the game lies in gradually uncovering the story by solving puzzles, piecing together past events through both ordinary as well as paranormal detective work.
This is a zero spoilers zone, please. Unless theyre really well veiled, no sly hints either by people who have already played the game. I do, however, invite speculation. The majority of the game consists of discovering the story and figuring things out is most of the fun.
The puzzles in the game involve two parts. One is the traditional adventure game activity of exploring areas, inspecting items, and collecting stuff. The second part revolves around putting it all together, weaving the fragmented evidence into a coherent narrative that gives us a glimpse into what happened.
Well, that sounds grander than it actually is, but its an interesting way of telling a story. Moreover, it allows for some thread participation. Ill make sure to collect everything and put the parts in their proper spots, but Ill leave it up to the thread to tie it all together, which means coming up with a rough theory and figuring out the chronological order of various scenes.