(Reviewed on Xbox One by Games of DAYNE
A hauntingly beautiful experience with a story surprisingly full of heart
Re:Turn – One Way Trip is a 2D side scrolling horror adventure with a charming pixel art design. Saki and her friends are camping, unaware that they are about to be drawn into a supernatural mystery trapped in a ghost train.
Telling a tale through time full of love and tragedy, Re:Turn – One Way Trip is a dark and delightful treat for fans of the genre that injects an anime-inspired art design for its characters that add a visual novel like element to its dialogue segments.
A good ol’ campfire story
A group of five college friends are separated overnight with nowhere to go other than a mysterious old train destroyed in air raids during World War II. The player assumes the role of Saki as she explores the train in search of her friends and fiancé, soon realising the haunting history of this train and the fate of its passengers.
Saki is soon introduced to one of many spirits that haunt the dozen or so cars that comprise the train during its final voyage. The playable perspective shifts back in time to a passenger during this ill-fated trip that begins to lay bare the tormented love stories at the heart of Re:Turn – One Way Trip.
After fainting in the present, Saki too finds herself back on the train while it and it’s passengers were alive and well though she is unable to interact with the characters, as though she herself is merely a ghost travelling through time. As she begins to explore and uncover the relevance of her time jump, she flashes back to the present, desperate to return and continue her experience during the trains final trip.
The narrative that interweaves the past with the present is genuinely intriguing and haunting in more ways than the malicious entities that mean to do Saki and her friends harm in the present day. It becomes clear that death haunts the train through time and not everyone will make it out alive.
As the pieces fall into place in regards to the broken love story that is at the heart of the supernatural torment, Saki realises her true purpose and what she must do to soothe the souls of those trapped in this tormented train. The ending is well executed and it’s motifs of love, peace and life after death are explored in a manner that is easy to understand and accept.
A twisted adventure
Re:Turn – One Way Trip is a horror experience just as much as it is an adventure. The player explores several cars of the war torn train, past and present, in search of items required to solve and puzzles and progress. Serving up story and history alongside the practical use of majority of these items, the story is constantly evolving and becoming more clear as these puzzles are solved.
The inventory system is simple, allowing the player to switch between found items to highlight one at a time to use on something in the environment. For instance, selecting a key and interacting with the correct door will unlock it. The interactions themselves are basic and straight forward, it’s the constant backtracking and necessity to find a piece of information or an objective before further items can be interacted with that will keep the player busy.
Interaction with objects, the environments and other characters is the extent of the gameplay. There is a save system though the game auto-saves with such regularity that there is little need for it as in my two playthroughs it seems there is only one part of the game where the player can actually die.
In the air tonight
The tension and atmosphere is excellent, there is a consistent sense of eeriness and torment in each explorable location. The creepy visuals of the old war-torn train are effective in the present while the vibrant contrast of its appearance in the past offers a striking balance of light and darkness, a theme that heavily depicts the history of the train in past and present.
The atmospheric tone is made complete with an excellent score and eerie sound effects. Considering the pixel art design, it’s an effective experience that still manages to unsettle.
Worth the trip
Re:Turn – One Way Trip is a haunting and atmospheric adventure with a tale that spans time. With love at the heart of the story across both timelines, it is surprisingly deep and more layered than many would expect from a pixel art 2D side scrolling horror experience. Coming in at about 3-4 hours it’s a short adventure but ultimately one worth checking out.
+ Excellent atmospheric tension
+ Cool art design
+ Surprisingly layered story
– No real threat or danger
– Lacks replayability
Games of DAYNE Rating
Developed by: Red Ego Games
Published by: Green Man Gaming
Release Date: October 14 2020
Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and PC
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