Re:Turn – One Way Trip – Review
Follow Genre: Horror, Visual Novel, Puzzle
Publishers: Green Man Gaming
Developers: Red Ego Games
Platform: Switch, PC, PS4, Xbox One
Tested on: PC

Re:Turn – One Way Trip – Review

Site Score
7.8
Good: Great story, neat graphics
Bad: Lots of walking involved, puzzles not so interesting
User Score
8.5
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 8.5/10 (2 votes cast)

Re:Turn – One Way Trip is an indie game by Red Ego Games. Re:Turn made it through a Beta where the gameplay took about an hour. Now, it’s almost fully released at the time of writing this review as it’s almost scary games season (October). The game got quite a few tweaks and improvements compared to the Beta, which includes some better graphics and polish, more and better puzzles, and just overall more playtime. Let’s see what Re:Turn – One Way Trip is all about as a full release, shall we?

Story

Re:Turn is about Saki and her friends who are on a camping trip. As most adolescents (or high school going kids, you never know in anime-styled games) they have their own drama going on. So two couples and a loner get in a conflict and the loner guy goes missing. Before long, the kids, meaning mainly Saki as you will be playing as her 90% of the game, find a ghastly looking ghost train. The train seems to have a rich history and something does not feel right about anything that’s going on. This is where the main story kicks in and you get to discover the secrets that this horror-like game holds. Sometimes this is done with conversations, sometimes it’s done with little in-game cutscenes and close-up pictures.

Graphics

Part detailed pixel art, part close-up paintings, that’s what Re:Turn – One Way Trip is about. It has beautiful environments that are sometimes light and breezy, while they are dark and suffocating at other moments. Most of the animations are rather simple, but there is enough to see. It helps that Re:Turn follows the classic JRPG format where when somebody is talking, the game shows their portrait as 3/4th of their body. This way you get a closer look at the expressions of characters while talking, which gives you details you would have missed otherwise. The close-up paintings are much like the Corpse Party games, gory in detail. Re:Turn has less focus on the gore and horror though, and more on the mystical side of the story.

Sound

It’s clear that the sound-effects got a lot of attention. The developers made it so that every standard sound effect is properly handled and created, but each scary scene and possible jumpscare, has its own aura and tailor-made feel. This in combination with the atmospheric tense music, you got yourself a great sound design for a horror game. The game’s sound helps properly set the mood, as it’s not the scariest game out there, it just gets enhanced heavily by the effects and the music.

Gameplay

While Re:Turn follows the template for a horror game, it actually feels more like an interactive visual novel. The most you do in the game is walking (later in the game running) from puzzle A to puzzle B. There are some negative things to be said about this. For one, the puzzles that you are chasing aren’t all that interesting and are mostly a mix of trial and error, trying to check each and every cabinet and table for items waiting to be found. There were multiple times that the same toilet room kept different items, and at some point, this felt rather stale. The fact that you are forced to walk back and forth multiple times while not even being allowed to run the first half of the game does not make this better. The game has so much focus on the train, which is the main story object, that the train might feel a bit small as you walk past the same doors for the 25th time.

If the walking already becomes a bit dull as you play, the puzzles you get presented with aren’t that inventive either. While some are a bit fresh, most feel overdone by other games, and nothing is ever smooth sailing. You can’t just find a code to a padlock, no, the code has to be stolen from you first and you have to chase ‘something’ to get it back. This train of thought expresses itself quite a bit in Re:Turn, and it’s frankly annoying after a while. It feels like it’s partially done to lengthen the gameplay that was about an hour in the beta and three to five hours in the full release. It’s debatable if this was the best way to create more gameplay. Fair enough, there are also good additions such as extra puzzles or more difficult ones that are at least interesting, but most are still dependant on just finding objects instead of implementing actual gameplay.

Re:Turn is a great experience if you focus on the story as it’s well-written with a bit of light horror. Make no mistake, it does a lot of things well, including a few puzzles, but the game also feels stretched out without asking much of the player. It’s more of an “oh well, I’ll do this chore for you” type of gameplay that just seems to be lacking some fun. For the detectives among you, the game might offer enough, but for those looking for some challenge, it might not. On top of that, the game could use small bits of polish where we encountered bugs such as portraits not changing to other characters or running away from a monster that was programmed poorly. But these are easy and small adaptations that should be fixed in a single patch. Therefore it didn’t affect the overall conclusion.

Conclusion

Re:Turn – One Way Trip does a lot of things right. It uses a great story and the popular JRPG horror style from games such as Corpse Party to get up in your face. The Sound effects, the music, all of this is nicely done. The gameplay, however, seems slightly abusive as it makes you work hard to progress without actually providing you with much of a challenge. This feels like a waste of all the things that Re:Turn did great. It’s a bit like a diamond that has a piece chipped away from it, which is a shame.

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Rating: 8.5/10 (2 votes cast)
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Re:Turn - One Way Trip - Review, 8.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
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Find me on youtube to see some playthroughs! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuBrlulGywcb0EiYWBnA1ng

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