It’s a rite of passage for youngsters to go camping in the woods; lighting up a big fire, and scaring each other stupid with outrageous ghost stories. Can you imagine if that wasn’t the end of the scares? Your well planned night of tales and shenanigans takes a turn for the worse. You now become the protagonist in your own horror story. Re:Turn – One Way Trip allows you to experience this and more in its dark and sinister world that is full of jump scares and coded messages.
Developed by Red Ego Games and published by Green Man Gaming Publishing, this pixelated side-scrolling adventure will; send shivers down your spine, have you jumping feet, and wanting to turn the lights on. A linear title that plays out over two different time zones, you control one of two main characters who must explore identical settings set years apart. Somehow each realm affects the other, and objects from one can be taken to the other to help solve puzzles and find lost items.
Re:Turn – One Way Trip is full of clichéd jump scares, but it still works.
The idea that a horror game relies on cheesy and clichéd methods to make you jump will make many players cringe. The sound of a baby crying in the dark, a doll’s face appearing and disappearing randomly, footsteps pattering on the floor and so forth. It’s old hat, and has been seen a million times, but works perfectly in this setting. You know you are about to get the shock of your life, yet you still jump feet when a ghostly child appears in your path. You curse your stupidity, calm yourself down and carry on. This, alongside the puzzle elements, makes up the core concept of Re:Turn – One Way Trip’s gameplay.
The story follows Saki, a young, attractive female who is due to marry the love of her life. She is a hopeless romantic and falls for anything that makes her heart melt. A Haiku is found in the woods when the group is searching for firewood. Saki believes this poem of love comes from her fiancée, but he has never seen it before. A fight erupts, and the night is ruined. One person runs away, and the rest retire to bed. This is the start of their nightmare, and this is where it all goes wrong. Saki must search the woods and a dilapidated train to find her friends. She must survive this ordeal and evade the attentions of an unspeakable evil, who is hell bent on avenging unrequited love.
A well used concept.
The idea of different realms or time frames affecting another isn’t a new idea. This concept has been well explored in many other titles, but yet I can’t help but love how it has been implemented here. The creepy and slow-paced story lends itself to the need to explore every inch of the world you find yourself in. The puzzles can only be tackled when certain items or key information are discovered. This linear approach may frustrate some players, but I found it a comfort as I didn’t want to feel lost in what could be a confusing world. None of the puzzles are too challenging to solve, and all the solutions are found in the creepy pictures, poems and notes you discover. A small amount of logical thinking is required to get through each chapter, but the difficulty makes it accessible for most gamers.
Alongside the logic-based puzzles and haunting story, I loved how the characters evolved. It can’t be easy for a developer to have two different stories running parallel to one another. Key moments are intertwined, which influences events in both characters’ worlds. The timeframes had similar scenarios told in different ways, and as the plot evolves, it becomes clear how each impacts the other, and how the 6 youngsters have been drawn into this horrific nightmare. You will be required to work through 10 chapters of overlapping confusion to discover the deepest and darkest secrets that have been hidden for years.
A classic horror look.
Grimy surfaces, large shadows, and filth as far as the eye can see. The train you explore is far from its former glory. This disgusting world sets the scene for the horrors that you will face. Flashback to the glory days of the locomotive. Its bright interior, regal colours, and clean finish that screams luxury and is a million miles away from its future self. These two visions help to set the tone for the whole story. One of hope, love and pride, the other of despair, loss and terror. A picture paints a thousand words, and Red Ego Games has done the perfect job in presenting it. Pixelated images, simple backdrops, and claustrophobic spaces go alongside the excellent use of colour. It’s a simple look, but it works so well.
It wouldn’t be a horror game if it didn’t have a sombre and creepy soundtrack. Eerie sound effects haunt you in every chapter of the game. By the end you are exhausted from the skin tingling moments. Luckily, none of them were too over the top, this prevented you from having to cringe with despair at any poorly executed choices. Overall, both the sound and visual aspects of the game acted as a perfect foundation for the rest of the game to play out on.
Running around on a train has never been so easy.
As with most side-scrolling linear games, you have little to worry about when it comes to controls. Re:Turn – One Way Trip is no different! Moving around is responsive, well thought out, and easy to achieve. All interactive areas are highlighted by a set of cogs, and the inventory is simple to access. The hardest part is to remember how each bit impacts the other, and where each puzzle is located. It’s rare that a puzzle game works as well with a controller as it does with a mouse and keyboard.
I’m not so sure that this has a vast amount of replay value to draw you back into playing. You have collectables to find, and other game specific goals to unlock achievements. But, gameplay wise, this offers little variety once you have completed it. Luckily, however, the first run through is very good, so there is plenty to keep you going until you finish it.
Will Re:Turn – One Way Trip haunt you forever?
Horror games have to go a long way to stand out from their peers. I think this has done just enough. Re:Turn – One Way Trip is full of clichés, but its wonderful story and blend of characters makes it all work. Not the longest game I’ve played, yet it has enough of a challenge to keep you interested. If you want a casual horror experience, then I recommend you buy it here! Can you rescue all your friends? Will you escape the evil that surrounds you? Take a journey across two eras, solve puzzles and understand what has happened.