The Secret of Retropolis – The Review

August 4, 2021 ·

When you hear the words point and click, what comes to mind? What about mystery? Even Noir? Do you think about trying to solve a crime or a mystery? To me, it’s all of these, but then the old detective movies start coming into play along with the laid-back attitude. There is just something that can really draw you into this atmosphere with the music, the characters, and just wondering who done it and why. So does developer Peanut Button check everything on the list at this point and click adventure? Let’s find out with The Secret of Retropolis on the Oculus Quest 2.

The Secret of Retropolis is a VR narrative point-and-click adventure. Blending a classic genre with immersive cinematography, as you meet unforgettable characters, solve puzzles, and lose yourself in the retro-futuristic atmosphere with a 50’s-ish aesthetics. Keep in mind, I will not be spoiling any secrets or showing how to solve any puzzles as it is something you should really discover for yourself. With that said, let’s continue.

The Secret of Retropolis takes place in a futuristic city called Retropolis. We learn that humans created robots to keep civilization alive. But now, all the humans are gone and it’s just the robots who as keeping the past alive, almost seem to have some of the same faults in a way as humans. Retropolis is all mechanical and its sole purpose is to keep the past alive forever. You play Philip Log who was destined to be a great detective for the RPD (Retropolis Police Department), but from an event in Philip’s robotic life, he lost his partner who is not a private eye. The pay may not be the greatest for Philip, but you can tell there is something that is keeping Philip tied to this type of life.

As we get to see inside Philip’s office, we are introduced to the client, famous movies star, Jenny Montage, and hear why she needs your help. This is the part of the story where you get to start making some choices. And as I heard Philip and Jenny talk, it was quite refreshing hearing the carefree attitude that he has and how she wants help and is getting a little annoyed by some of the answers based on the choices you make.

One of the things about The Secret of Retropolis is the cut scenes in between the different levels. The narration helps bridge together the story nicely. Each level will consist of certain puzzles that you will need to figure out before you can progress further in the story. The puzzles are not very difficult and that’s a good thing for all as you can have both VR veterans and newcomers to VR be able to solve what needs to be solved without much if any frustration. If you happen to feel like you may be stuck at one part of the level, just listen to what the characters are saying and that should help give you the clues you may need.

Some items are interactive that will either have some type of narration with it and/or an item that you can put in your inventory that looks like a suitcase so that you can use it for different parts of the level. So not every item may need to be used in that certain section of the level. So if it can’t and you can put it in the inventory, do so as it will come in handy before you know it. There is no free movement as you just click to go into different areas. So those who might be prone to some type of motion sickness shouldn’t really have too much of an issue here in Retropolis.

Let’s look at the graphics and sound. The retro hand-drawn art style is absolutely fantastic and helps sets the mood of a city run by robots. Seeing the rainfall to the city come alive and not needing that much color to feel like a familiar one. Looking at Philip and Jenny close up with the different shades of their colors really help with the identity of their own and the other characters to each having their individual characteristics along with the words being clear and easy to read was really pleasure on the eyes. And when you can see the concept art from what the characters started to look like to what the final version is, it really is a nice bonus. The narration from Philip had that 50’s style to it which added to the story and Jenny sounded like she really was trying to tell her side of the story to anyone that would just listen. Some other smaller characters, and I don’t know how to really say this, but they sounded a little more robotic than others. And that may be the point and if so, good job. The jazz music in the different scenes really fit just right and really helps set the mood for everything.

There are a few things that I hope either get added or updated. For one, the suitcase, your inventory, it does follow you everywhere and it can be a little distracting. Maybe having a button pressed and then have the suitcase appear might be a better option to have. Second, I wish it was longer. For what is presented here, there is enough for the price of the admission as it plays homage to the classic point-and-click adventures and inspirations from Noir which I really enjoyed. And finally, I want to see more tales from Retropolis. Since this is a city that is meant to keep the past alive, there could be so many stories from the past or even current using the robots in this way, that there could be endless possibilities here with historical events alone.

The Secret of Retropolis does bring the mix of classic point and click adventures that some of us may have grown up on while adding a refreshing twist to it all. It shows that our past and present of loneliness, greed, and betrayal are strong and maybe what humanity may be remembered for and that if we don’t learn from our past, we are doomed to repeat it.

The Secret of Retropolis is out now for the Oculus Rift/Rift S and the Oculus Quest/Quest 2 on Oculus App Lab on the Oculus Store and Steam. A review code was provided.

To learn more about the game, please visit the site and subscribe to the YouTube channel. To learn more about Peanut Button, please visit their site, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, follow them on Instagram, and join their Discord.

Also, check out The Secret of Retropolis interview.

In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I have some other choices to make.

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