Re:Turn – One Way Trip Xbox One Review

October 28, 2020 by  
Filed under Xbox One, Reviews & Features, Xbox

Publisher: Green Man Gaming  Developer: Red Ego Games  Genre: Horror

Players: 1  Age Rating: 16+  Other console/handheld formats: PS4, Switch

With October being the month of all things scary and with Halloween being only a few days away, for those looking for some spooky gaming fun, you might want to look no further than Re:Turn – One Way Trip, a pixelated Japanese-inspired horror game that gives a lesson on how to cram a lot into a small space.

Re:Turn primarily takes place in and around a luxury train, switching between its glorious past and its rather gloomy present as the narrative explores themes of love and anger between various passengers, viewed from the perspective of main protagonist, Saki.

Saki, her fiance Sen, and friends Kanae, her boyfriend Kazuki, and Yuuta, are all having one final camping trip in the deep, dark woods before they all go their separate ways after college and enter adulthood. However, an argument breaks out, leading to one friend, Yuuta, running away from the group, and the rest having to split up to find him. The setup is pretty standard horror stuff. While searching, Saki is separated from her friends and comes across the train, now in a rather run-down state, and, thinking her friends could be inside, decides to climb on board.

Re:Turn mixes old-school 2D art with text cutscenes, minus any voice acting.

The story is engaging and although most characters aren’t particularly fleshed out, the plot is still enough of a draw to keep you interested in finding out exactly what is going on. The idea of switching between the past (with the past setting taking place, presumably, during WW2) and the present, while not an entirely new idea, has still been done well and you want to know what fate awaits the train’s passengers. The ending, however, is, disappointingly, rather abrupt and anticlimactic, and there are also questions left unanswered from certain plot points.

Gameplay simply sees you walking to the left and right of the screen and clicking to interact with areas of interest, these highlighted by a magnifying glass icon. Saki can read books, collect notes and creepy child drawings, all of which she saves in her journal, and she can also find items and objects of interest, accessible from her inventory, which can be used in said areas of interest. You won’t really struggle to find items as it is simply a matter of looking out for the magnifying glass icon. There is a lot of puzzle solving (or rather fetch questing) but it’s not the most taxing stuff and if you do get stuck it’s simply a matter of clicking on items at locations of interest until an item is used or a scene is triggered. You won’t be stuck for very long – bar a couple of lock combination puzzles (that I still don’t understand now even after completing the game) gameplay is mostly straightforward.

As for enemies, for the majority of the time there is no real threat, with the game mainly focused on gameplay and plot. There is only really one enemy who you need to run away from and which can cause you to die, but other than that the game is focused on puzzle solving and story, which was fine by me. I liked that the game wasn’t always hindered by enemy encounters, and made the story and gameplay all the more immersive. However, a few more unnerving moments would have been welcome. Being confined on a train, visually it sets up a foreboding and claustrophobic atmosphere, at least when you are in the present, and you’ll find yourself always waiting for the moment the game truly starts to play with your mind, but, save for a few enemy encounters, the payoff never really comes resulting in a game that isn’t quite as scary as it could be.

There are some ghostly moments early on, but these moments are few and far between

While the controls are also simple enough to use, I found that there seemed to be a delay between when a screen is loaded and being able to move Saki, a bit of an annoyance when trying to evade one particular enemy, which resulted in multiple, and likely very avoidable, deaths. One unusual idea is that you have to unlock the ability to run, so for the first stretch of the game, you’ll mostly be walking everywhere, which some might find irksome when it comes to the backtracking.

The game is a short one, coming in at around 5-6 hours, but the time spent playing is far from wasted, despite the anticlimactic ending – you still get a great story about redemption. Re:Turn – One Way Trip manages to set up an engrossing narrative combined with a spooky ambience and minimal sound, adding to its overall eerie tone. If you are looking for an uncomplicated creepy game this Halloween, then you might want to book your one way trip with Saki.