Genre: Adventure, Horror, 2D
Developer: Red Ego Games
Publisher: Green Man Gaming
Release date: Oct 14, 2020
Re: Turn – One Way Trip is about a group of college students camping in the woods that, after a night of uneasiness and awkwardness, came into contact with a train out of place and time. Saki, the protagonist, woke up alone in the forest at the campsite not long after. Confused, and becoming more and more worried by the minute, she ventures into the ruined train of mysterious origin, the only place of interest that all her friends could have disappeared into.
Let’s get one thing out of the way first. The advertised line of “A 2D side-scrolling puzzle adventure horror game” is an accurate description of what the game has to offer for the current demo. Saki will be exploring the environment in a 2D plane with the ability to interact with objects as indicated by the icon prompt. Inventory items can also be used to start these interactions with varying results. Saki can acquire other tools and initiate/complete puzzles. This game has a lot in common with point&click adventure games. Needless to say, the story can only be progressed this way. It’s all quite simple and straight forward. The same can be said for the visuals for the most part although I will say that I have some fondness for the still image cutscenes. It has charm to it.
Re: Turn – One Way Trip does not offer anything groundbreaking in terms of gameplay and that’s fine. A game doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel for it to be good. Look no further than visual novels. Stories and characters can easily carry the whole thing with minimal to no gameplay. Is this also the case here? The answer is yes and no. I find the story to be interesting and I am invested in it after having gone through it. The cliffhanger abrupt ending of the demo certainly contributes to this.
Trying to piece together the clues of the supernatural origin of the train as it slowly unravels back and forth is what I took interest in and still looking forward to in the full release. However, I cannot say much the same for the characters. Outside of the very brief intro, you don’t really get to see or learn much of them. Definitely not enough to get you to care outside Saki, the playable character. This might do a complete 180 as more is revealed in the story past the endpoint of preview but I can only go by what is present in the current demo build.
One major complaint I have is in roughly the second half of the demo. The portrait of who is talking in a conversation doesn’t switch between characters. At a glance, this gives an immediate illusion as if the characters in question are monologuing. Further inspection will reveal the opposite. While it doesn’t seem that big of a deal in some cases, it makes certain dialogues quite confusing in others when it’s not clear who is speaking. This happened quite often in my experience. I am fairly certain this is either a bug or an error in coding but what I am not so sure is how something this visually distinct and integral to the experience got through playtesting/quality control. I sincerely hope that this is fixed in the final release. It’s not game-breaking but it’s immersion-breaking.
Another thing that bothers me is that certain dialogues feel unnatural. I was going to chalk this as a translation error but steam indicates that English is the only available language so the problem may lie with the script itself? Or maybe I am just so out of touch that I don’t know how college students talk anymore? I didn’t really do a double-take on these dialogues so do take this specific issue with a grain of salt.
Current Interest Level:
Middling with some intrigue
Although the demo version of Re: Turn – One Way Trip has me interested in the main story and what future events may unfold for the main character, I am not so confident about what else is being laid on this foundation. There’s also a worrying bug that has made it through to the current public demo which I fear may be a sign of worse things to come as far as quality control is concerned. I do hope that this turns out to not be the case in the full version.