On an end of college camping trip, five friends are telling scary stories around a fire. When the fire mysteriously flares up and goes out, the tension increases. After an argument over a love letter, everyone grumpily goes to sleep.
Suddenly, Saki is jolted awake from a nightmare, and all of her friends have disappeared. Saki wanders out into the darkness to try and find them but comes up to an abandoned train. She then makes the obviously bad choice of getting onto that train to look for her friends.
The creep factor increases on the train as items appear and disappear, and after the earth shakes Saki is thrown into the past on a working train, but no one can see her. No one except a little girl, that is. Saki needs to delve into the secrets of the past to learn the secrets of the train and find her way back to her friends.
Re:Turn is a 2D sidescroller point and click game. Set on a train, you will definitely be sidescrolling from one end to the other over and over. For the most part, this is fine, but when you have a puzzle taking you from far left to far right, it can get a bit tedious, especially as there are fade-outs at each carriage. For some reason, when walking to a new carriage, Saki stops walking even though you are still pressing the direction. Meaning that every time you enter a new carriage, you need to let go of the direction and press again. This isn’t a big deal, but a little annoying when you have to venture through multiple carriages.
Other than this, I found the controls, inventory and hints reasonably straight forward and easy. One thing to note is that you might find multiple items you need in the same spot, but they won’t all appear from the beginning. They only become available as their current storyline calls for them. So definitely go check places you’ve already looked at previously! Re:Turn makes it easy to identify where there might be a clue with a magnifying glass popping up, so you’re not left pixel hunting forever.
Art and sound design
The pixel art in Re:Turn is excellent, with detailed characters and backgrounds. There is also a lot of attention to detail between the run down, decrepit now and the shiny, elegant then. The character design also shows a lot of emotion given the art style. Not only is the pixel art great, there are also beautiful character portraits and cut scenes which add another dimension to the characters.
The soundtrack provides a perfectly creepy vibe to the game. There are no jump scares and minimal gore in Re:Turn, so the soundtrack and sound design do a lot of the heavy lifting to make it feel scary, but not too scary. The sound design is spot on and makes the game feel more real, though there is one sound effect I could have done without. That is the creaky door sound effect. Every time you open a door, regardless of whether you’re in shiny new train or old abandoned train, creaks. When you’re running from one end of the train to the other multiple times, that’s a lot of creaking!
I don’t usually play horror games, Re:Turn is actually the first one on the site, so it’s low level spook factor was appreciated. Saki’s story is exciting and I unravelling all the secrets to solve the mystery. Unfortunately, Re:Turn ends on a cliffhanger of sorts, and you won’t learn all the secrets just yet. There is a sequel in the works though, and the devs have promised all will be answered then.
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** Find The Strawberry received a free key for Re:Turn from Red Ego Games. All opinions are my own **