Retropolis 2: This VR game takes me back to my childhood
Retropolis 2: Never Say Goodbye takes me back to my early days in front of the computer with its point-and-click mechanics.
I grew up with the classic point-and-click adventures of the late 80s and early 90s from Sierra and Lucas Arts. Monkey Island is still one of my favorite game series. I rarely play adventure games these days, but Retropolis: 2 Never Say Goodbye immediately appealed to me. A point-and-click adventure in VR? I've got to give it a try.
In Retropolis 2: Never Say Goodbye, you take on the role of robot detective Philip Log. In classic point-and-click style, you solve puzzles, meet shady characters, and become part of a dark story about a mysterious femme fatale.
I played the first episode of the four-part VR adventure and tell you what to expect.
Film noir meets point and click in VR
Never Say Goodbye seamlessly picks up where the first game left off. If you missed The Secret of Retropolis like me, you'll be able to find your way right away. The intro tells in short, atmospheric cutscenes what has happened between Philip and Jenny Montage since the end of the first part, and the following start sequence briefly introduces important characters.
About the story: Jenny is kidnapped and asks Philip for help in a phone call shortly before. He immediately tries to find her, but gets bogged down in the investigation. He indulges in alcohol and becomes obsessed with finding Jenny.
Out of nowhere, an old police colleague appears with a strange clue. Soon, the detective has to deal with the phantom "Magician", who is considered an underground myth in Retropolis and could be behind Jenny's disappearance.
VR detectives investigate while sitting
The controls in Retropolis 2: Never Say Goodbye are completely designed for sitting. From a fixed perspective, I can explore the environment and combine objects to solve puzzles and progress. In other words, a typical point-and-click adventure game. Charming: When I point at an object and press the trigger, I hear the click of a computer mouse.
The first puzzles aren't too challenging, which makes it easier to get started and serves to build up the plot. But once the Magician appears, things get tricky. I find myself in a five-story lighthouse set up like an escape room. On each floor, I have to solve environmental and switch puzzles that are connected or build on each other.
Point and Click Feeling with Dropouts
The game gives no hints or help. I have to rely entirely on my detective skills and my experience with puzzles from 90s adventure games, and feel transported back to my early days with mouse and keyboard.
However, there is a small drop of bitterness: In between, I have to unlock certain objects in a kind of virtual reality. There, a panel is divided into rectangles that can be switched from black to white by clicking on them.
Each rectangle switches up to three other rectangles at the same time. So, I have to figure out the connections and the right order to turn the whole board from black to white. The Rubik's Cube sends its greetings. However, these passages take me out of the action, don't really fit into the overall picture, and are more annoying than challenging.
Verdict: Entertaining noir thriller with potential
Graphically and technically, Retropolis 2: Never Say Goodbye doesn't cut any corners, but it doesn't have to. The reduced comic look creates a believable world and builds up an atmospheric film noir adventure. Only the sometimes jerky animations of the robots and the not always optimally mixed voices occasionally disturb the immersion in this early access version.
All in all, I had a lot of fun with the first episode of Retropolis 2: Never Say Goodbye. The puzzles are pleasantly tricky, and the story captivated me. Since there is no release date for the remaining episodes yet, I will catch up with the first part first. For Meta Quest 2, The Secret of Retropolis is currently available for just under 5 US-Dollars (regular price: $9.99).
- Important note: The developers have informed me that there is currently a bug that causes no text to be displayed in the dialog boxes. This only happens if the language of your VR headset is set to German. If you switch to English, the text will appear again. This bug will be fixed in a patch soon.
What is included in the Early Access version of Retropolis 2?
If you want to play the detective adventure on Meta Quest 2, you can buy the Early Access version via the App Lab. Developer Peanut Button is charging just under 25 US-Dollars including the Season Pass.
So far, only the first of four episodes is available, which should keep you busy for an hour or two. The studio plans to release the following three episodes, as well as other yet-to-be-announced content, in an update.
If you hurry, you can also try Retropolis 2: Never Say Goodbye for free. A free demo for PC VR will be available during the Steam Next Fest.