After being late to the party for The Secret of Retropolis, I wanted to get straight into Retropolis 2: Never Say Goodbye. I’ve now returned to Retropolis as Philip Logg, and it seems Jenny has gotten herself into trouble again. But, can the sequel live up to the original?
Release Date: January 18th 2024
Developer: Peanut Button
Publisher: Peanut Button
Reviewed On: Meta Quest 3 (via link cable)
* Code Provided For Review *
FIND THE MAGICIAN
Retropolis 2 is a set one year on from the events of The Secret of Retropolis. You are back as Philip Log, the Private Investigator with your lover and femme fatale Jenny Montage. She leaves you in search of answers on who they buried in The Secret of Retropolis, and after not hearing from her for a while, she phones you in a panic that The Magician is after her. Can you successfully uncover where The Magician is keeping her and save your love?
OLD SCHOOL POINT AND CLICK
The team at Peanut Button have not deviated away from the original when it comes to the gameplay loop. Keeping the point-and-click mechanic the same, but you will be able to explore other areas of each location rather than being stuck in the one room. This still uses the point and click element, where you will get an arrow to indicate you can to move to the next area. In each location you will visit in Retropolis, there will puzzles to solve in order to progress to the next location in the city. With references to things like Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? popping up throughout.
When it comes to the gameplay, they have ramped up the puzzles and design of the puzzles to the next level, with the first having more simple solutions and Retropolis 2 feeling very much like the more difficult point-and-click classics. With this approach in mind in each location you are stuck to one point in that room that you look around and use your extending arms to grab items, pull levers and push buttons, in keeping with classics.
Once you have completed the puzzles, conversations and got what you need in each location, you will travel to the next destination in the city. Again this is via a cut-scene where Philip will narrate his thoughts and the story as he drives through the city. Personally I am pleased the team never deviated away from the original game when it comes to gameplay and story-telling, and only made improvements in each area, as the games film noir design really suits the approach they have taken.
THE BRIGHT AND BOLD RETROPOLIS
As with the gameplay the production levels on the presentation have been ramped up to another level. Keeping the same style of the original game, with a bold and simple cartoon art style, which works really well for Retropolis and it’s inhabitants. However, the clarity and smoothness on the visuals is on another level and the areas you visit no longer have that feeling being empty – well except from the road leading to the lighthouse, but this makes sense. Animations of all the characters have also been improved, showing how much the production values have improved over the development of Never Say Goodbye.
With the voice actors for both Philip and Jenny returning, and great voice acting for The Magician, who this time will be involved in the dialogue the most (outside of Philip) making sure it’s up to scratch with the first. You will however, have more people you engage in conversation this time outside of the three main characters – and all of these have solid voice acting and you’ll love Betty1 and Betty2. This is continued in the robots you can interact with without having full blown conversations with them. One thing I loved about the first was the soundtrack, and they have kept this similar with lots of sax and piano – which is perfect for the film noir design.
Retropolis 2: Never Say Goodbye takes everything that worked in The Secrets of Retropolis, but ramped them all up – making it feel on the next level in regards to production value. With the story continuing on perfectly from the first, the puzzle design and presentation improvements and being three times the length of the original, Retropolis 2 feels like a true sequel. With the game ending leaving it open for a Retropolis 3, I am hoping that Peanut Button have plans to keep this series going.