Title: Re:Turn - One Way Trip
Developer: Red Ego Games
Release Date: October 14, 2020
Reviewed On: PC
Publisher: Green Man Gaming Publishing
Genre: Adventure Horror
After previously going hands-on with the demo of Re:Turn: One Way Trip, I was left with some fairly high expectations of what this game could amount to. After all, it’s a horror adventure game with clear influences from The Strange Men Anthology and Corpse Party. These titles get the atmosphere right, which makes them scary without the need for highly detailed graphics. Sure, I don’t venture too far into the horror genre, but I was nervously excited to see what this adventure had in store.
Re:Turn: One Way Trip introduces a group of five college friends who have decided to go camping together to celebrate their graduation. This is an important trip for them because they won’t spend time together as they enter the “adulting” stage of their lives.
However, the fun quickly comes to an end when a verbal confrontation breaks out. Our lead, Saki, heads off to gather some more firewood, but everyone has vanished when she returns. After stumbling around the surrounding forest area, Saki finds a mysterious train, abandoned and ruined, that she doesn’t remember seeing before. While any sane person would know this is a classic horror movie setup, our intrepid hero isn’t always that genre-savvy as she boards a one-way trip to trauma central.
Aboard the train, you’re tasked with hunting down Saki’s friends and solve a variety of puzzles. You merely select an item in your inventory to use while standing next to the point of interest in simple adventure style mechanics. The puzzles are straightforward, with only one potential roadblock towards the end. Unless you’re like me and tend to overthink things to the nth degree, I’m sure you’ll find your way easily enough.
During gameplay, it can feel like there’s a lot of backtracking going on, but I think that just that comes with the territory if you’re going to play a game set entirely on a train. The most interesting parts of these puzzles are just how effective they are in setting the mood. While investigating the environment, you’ll get little lore tidbits through mysterious poems, and drawings found scattered across the train.
The adventure itself is fairly linear, so you don’t need to worry about missing anything unless it’s connected to an Achievement. As you clear those pesky little puzzle segments, you’ll progress the narrative and see Saki reunite with her friends, experience strange visions, and most creatively, find herself astral projected back in time to when the train was actually running.
During these moments, Saki can explore the past version of the train, interact with the passengers, and bring items to the future. It’s a unique concept that I ended up really enjoying. It also flows with the main narrative seamlessly, which kept me engaged with the plot even when I would overthink puzzles.
Visually, Re:Turn: One Way Trip looks stunning. The art direction is super on point, with the pixel art being both pretty and well animated. The strange creatures, characters, and little events add a surprising amount of detail that goes into the atmosphere. The title also contains some amazing CGs, with some even having motion applied.
Still, I wish there were more moments like this, as they’re minimal to non-existent towards the end of the game, which is really when they’re needed most. There are many cool moments that really could have used that extra punch, but the cast doesn’t really have the power to keep this narrative going. Sure, there are some decent interaction moments, but it’s tough to invest in this cast when you don’t completely care about them.
Re:Turn: One Way Trip is a standout indie horror adventure that absolutely understands atmosphere and pacing. The narrative gets a bit flimsy in some areas due to a lacking supporting cast, but it ends up nailing important gameplay systems that will make you swear to never ever aboard a ghost train in your life.
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