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PCVR GamesReviews

The Secret of Retropolis Review

I am very late to the party playing The Secret of Retropolis, but I finally arrived on set of this VR film noir adventure. I have now played a Private Investigator in Retropolis, but, have I been missing out?

STORY

You are Phillip Log a robot detective who is hired by a famous movie star called Jenny Montage for a shady job. The big question is, can you complete this job successfully while uncovering conspiracies in the city of robots?

GAMEPLAY

The Secret of Retropolis is a point-and-click adventure game, come film noir interactive movie. As you are introduced to Phillip he explains his past and how it has turned him to alcohol and he has not been getting any work as a Private Investigator. As you put on your vinyl record and start to take a sip of your drink, you are interrupted by Mrs. Montage, who needs you retrieve her Sapphire Nucleus from her abusive and politically powerful husband Senator Meric – which she needs to stop her resetting in twenty-four hours.

This leads to different locations around Retropolis to conduct your investigation and try and retrieve the Sapphire. This opens up the point-and-click gameplay in the ilk of genre greats like Discworld – but of course playing out in first-person as you are Phillip. In each location there are puzzles to solve in order to progress. These are all designed well, with the team not making them too simple, but also making sure they are not overly hard – this allows the narrative of the story to flow without breaking it for a prolonged time.

Once you have solved the puzzle and got what you needed in that area, you can click on your car and progress the story, as Phillip will narrate over a stylish cut-scene as his car travels around the city.

You will also get some conversation sections, where you can pick your response to learn more about the characters, Retropolis and also solutions for the puzzle. These conversation sections only include Jenny, Senator Meric and the maitre d of the Blue Screen Club you visit. With what the team were looking achieve, this is all the game needs to keep you engaged and tell the story of The Secret of Retropolis.

PRESENTATION

The art style is kept simple but bold, with a cartoon aesthetic. This allows important characters and items to stand-out which is a important part of how film noir is shot. This allowed for them to include some shots than are staples in the genre, for example; Jenny’s silhouette in your office window, highlighting her as the damsel in distress. Where the colours are minimalist and sometimes make it feel like there is a lot of empty space, each area of Retropolis you visit and built up enough to keep you immersed in the games setting. Also, they have made sure all the main characters in the game are well animated and look great, with Jenny and Phillip carrying what you expect to see in film noir – with her being glamorous from head to toe and you having a fedora and long coat. Outside of the main characters you will come across other robots in Retropolis, some you can interact with some you cant, but all of these have their own look, which adds to that immersion.

With this being a narrative driven game, which is inspired by film noir the voice acting was always going to be important. I was very pleased to see all of this was done well, especially for Jenny and Phillip, as these have a lot of dialogue in the game. With both of the characters voice tone expressing the current situation very well. Although, most of Phillips is monotone until Jenny is in danger, this really suits what you see in most film noirs. Outside of the main characters, the inhabitants you can interact with but not have full blown conversation, are all voiced acted as well – so this does not distract from the great voice acting for the everyone else. Adding to the voice acting a great use of music that suits the film noir inspiration, with lots of saxophone and piano, and Jenny singing in the club scene bringing the sound together perfectly.

COMFORT/CONTROLS

The game can be played seated or standing, but it is designed to be played seated, so I just played it this way. There is no movement in the game, you are just set to one location in each scene, meaning it will not cause any sort of motion sickness from simulated movement. When turning, the game only offers snap-turning, but if you are not a fan of this you can just physically turn in your play space.

Tracked Controllers

GAMEPAD

LONGEVITY

My playthrough of the game took me around one-hour which flew by as I was enjoying the game and story so much. Do I think I would playt it again? Unfortunately I feel this is a game you would probably only play the once – but could be used if wanting to show VR to people, as the comfort is made for everyone. Also, where this may seem short, the game is priced reasonably for the length and what it offers.

REVIEWED USING DPVR E4

For the purposes of transparency, this review was created using a review code provided by the company or their respective PR company. The use of a press code does not affect my judgement of the product.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

After playing The Secret of Retropolis, I am not sure why I hadn’t taken the time to play it before now. Mixing point-and-click gameplay with probably my favorite genre of movies worked so well. I really did enjoy every second of the narrative and seeing film noir tropes in the set-up of the story and scenes. For the price of the game, it’s certainly worth taking a trip into Retropolis and uncovering the secret yourself.

GAME DETAILS

Release Date: July 21st 2021
Developer: Peanut Button
Publisher: Peanut Button
Price: US $9.99 / CA $12.99 / €9,75/ £8.50

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