RE:TURN - ONE WAY TRIP
By Diana "DumeeGamer" Dumee on January 26, 2021
Oh boy, oh boy! It's time for my next horror adventure! And this time, we're going on a trip in a train! Re:turn - One Way Trip is a game that was already released last year, but it wasn't until recently that I start playing it. And I consider myself lucky I did, because it's a very awesome game!
The intro of Re:turn is different than I would expect from a horror game. While the names of the development team are shown, you will see locations of the game accompanied by beautiful piano music. The main story is about five youngsters that are camping in the woods. They give each other a good scare with some eerie stories, while sitting around a camp fire. Suddenly the fire goes out because of an unknown reason. Unsure what to do, they decided to split up into groups and find some more wood to start a new fire.
The guys of the group are Sen, Yuuta and Kazuki and the girls of this party are Saki and Kanae. You, as the player, take control of Saki. The controls are not that hard. You can toggle your flashlight, interact, open your inventory and walk to either the left or the right. Only left or right, I hear you ask? Yes, exactly that, because Re:Turn - One Way Trip is a 2D side-scrolling puzzle-adventure horror game. It has a great old school 16 bit art style, with slide-in stills providing the imagery during dialogues.
While exploring the forest to find wood, Kanae and Saki also find a Haiku, a sort of poem. Saki thinks it fell out of the pocket of her fiancÚ Sen. But Sen didn't write it and he is very angry that someone wrote a romantic poem to his fiancÚ. He blames his friends for it and Yuuta gets so disappointed and sad because Sen suspect him of making a pass at Sens girlfriend, that he decides to run away. The rest of the group retire to their respective tents and have a well-deserved sleep. Saki, however, wakes up from a creepy nightmare, so she decides to go outside for a bit. But when she steps out of the tent, her friends all seem to have disappeared. Saki tries to find them of course, and that's when she finds an old, abandoned, rusty train wreck. She realizes that entering this train is a recipe for disaster, but what other choice does she have? Her friends might be in there! (and without such questionable choices, we wouldn't have horror stories, now would we?)
After a couple of chapters it becomes clear that there's more to this game than meets the eye at first. You will switch between time periods; the present and a time during World War II, all to unravel the story of what tragedies have taken place in this train. Re:turn has a layered story with great puzzles. I love the scavenger hunts on the train while in the past, where you have to find and solve riddles to find the treasure in the end. A similar hunt for treasures is set out for you by a young boy later on, where you have to find layers of see-through paper which you can use as an overlay on a map of the train to find the next treasure, and again, excellent!
Overall, I have to say I thought it was easier to solve the puzzles in the past setting then in the present for some reason. The main character gives better feedback or hints about the next step in the past, but that might also have been me. I particularly had troubles with the puzzle that has a lock and you need to figure out when and how many times to turn left and right. I got a drawing that I'm sure that it should help me, but everything that I thought of was resulting in a wrong combination. I managed in the end to solve it, by puzzling together with my husband, do a bit trial and error and eventually with some luck!
Re:Turn - One Way Ticket is not an overly long game. I completed the entire adventure in approximately 6 hours and it was truly amazing. At the end I saw that "the journey isn't over yet", so I can only hope that this means there will be second game which, incidentally, I would preorder immediately! Saki is a brave girl who wants to fight for love and friendship and I feel honored to have fought and puzzled at her side!