Night mode

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter – Review

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter - Review

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter – Review

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter – Review by Jeffry Houser. "A beautiful world with a cool game mechanic."


Written by on

Developed by

Published by

Available in the JA Store


Do you want to explore Red Creek Valley in any way you choose? The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is an open-world game that will allow you to do just that. It’s an adventure game where you play paranormal investigator Paul Prospero, who comes to Red Creek Valley after receiving a letter from Ethan Carter, a missing child.

What is going on here?

In The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, you’re going to have to explore a lot. You aren’t exactly sure what you’re looking for, so just start walking until you find something. The puzzles are a bit vague and if you don’t explore carefully, you may walk right past them. Paul Prospero has psychic abilities similar to Erica Reed from the Cognition series. The game dynamic for using his powers is also very similar. Paul will find something, such as an old train car. When he uses it, he goes through a few options in his head before deciding what he needs. Paul can then use his power to get a glimpse of the location where the item resides. It’s up to him to find it, but don’t worry; it’s usually relatively nearby. All the puzzles in the game are, roughly, self-contained within a single area. However, at times the open world nature of the game can make it tough to figure out the boundaries of that area.

As an investigator, you’re searching for a child who knows about evil things. Along the way you find pieces of his story in the form of dead bodies. You must use your power to see the events that lead to a particular character’s death. First, you must put the environment into the state it was in before the character died. This will lead to a bunch of scenarios which you must then put in order. Once they are in order, you can watch the events play out. It is a very cool game mechanic.

So, Let’s Explore

As you explore the Red Creek Valley, be sure to take a moment to look around. The graphics are beautiful and the land is sprawling. It’s a joy just to look around. You’ll walk through woods, around a dam and through a small abandoned village, into the ruins of a burnt out house along the river and deep underground. You’ll go underwater, up into space and even into a limbo dimension that hides a secret.

Even though the game is an open-world game, the story still feels very linear. It’s like you’re walking a single straight line from puzzle to puzzle, but it’s a straight line with the width of a dozen football fields to either side of you. There is room to get lost, but you probably won’t. Even when I wandered off into random directions I always came upon the next puzzle, almost by accident. Even after completing the game I was left wondering what things I missed along the way.

The game’s concept is intriguing, but in today’s day and age I’m not sure how many people have the patience for a game that gives you no instruction, not even a tutorial. The story unfolds in a weird way and the narrative is a bit random at times. The ending tries to throw in a big twist, M. Night Shyamalan style, but it doesn’t quite work. I’m undecided whether the ending is shockingly brilliant or just simply confusing.

Where Do We Go From Here?

If it’s a rainy day and you want to stay inside and think of sunny things, then this is a great game for you. It provides lots of areas to explore, some puzzles to get rid of the brain cobwebs and a story that is just compelling enough to keep you interested. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a beautiful world with a cool game mechanic. You won’t regret the afternoon you spend in Red Creek Valley.


Final Grade: B+
Amazing graphics
+ Very cool game mechanic 
– Lack of direction


Minimum System Requirements:
OS: WindowsXP SP3 or higher
Processor: Intel Core2 Duo or equivalent AMD
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Graphics: DirectX9c compliant card with 512MB of VRAM
DirectX: Version 9.0c
Hard Drive: 9 GB available space
Sound Card: DirectX9c compliant


Jeffry Houser

Jeffry Houser

Jeffry's first memory of gaming was blowing himself up in Zork by walking into the gas room with a torch. Then he tried King's Quest on a PCjr and has been a fan of the genre ever since.Jeffry Houser is a technical entrepreneur that likes to share cool stuff with other people. In his professional career, Jeffry runs an IT Consulting form. He has a Computer Science degree from the days before the business met the Internet and has built a career around using technology to solve business problems. He has written four technical books, over 30 articles and hundreds of podcasts. Jeffry has published a casual game on Android, titled Igor Knots and the Magonda Maze.In his spare time Jeffry is a musician, writer, podcaster, and recording engineer. His first table top game should come to Kickstarter in early 2015. You can read his personal blog at

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.