Two years ago Creator The Spectrum Retreat Dan Smith (Dan Smith) received a reward on the BAFTA in the category “Young Game Designer”. His puzzle in which the hero tried to escape from a strange labyrinth, interacting with multi-colored cubes, liked not only the jury, but also a small publishing Ripstone. Such active support for the project inspired Smith to create a full-fledged game in which he added a storyline. But tie two of these components clearly it turned out more difficult than he thought.
Two at the price of one
Action The Spectrum Retreat Deployed at the hotel, where the main character lives in one of the rooms. The building begins to seem not quite ordinary place at the very beginning, when the door is knocking the mannequin, offering to go down to the restaurant. Soon it becomes clear that all staff – terrible figures, who do not have eyes, and at the place of the mouth, each of them is a speaker.
Even before leaving the number, the character finds a strange device under the pillow, which comes mysterious messages. Upon arrival in a restaurant with a hero, a girl named Cooper, designed to save the guy – Say, he is located at the hotel not by his will. The assistant thoroughly thinks over the escape plan, but just so get out through the roof will not work. Have to gradually study one floor after another, or rather – solve dozens of puzzles.
And then you begin to notice one of the main problems The Spectrum Retreat – lack of communication between the main history and puzzles. The interior of the hotel is made in the style of Ar Deco with a refined room design, and the riddles you decide in completely other, futuristic locations, the design of which has nothing to do with the decoration of the hotel. In addition, the assistant actively communicating with you despite your silence, stops talking during puzzles. Because of this, there is constantly the feeling that you switch between two completely different games, and not pass one piece.Scare here will not be, but the atmosphere is sometimes crazy.
The gameplay also changes – the hotel has a “walking simulator”, where the player listens to the assistant tips and very slowly moves. At his speed, probably did not have to pay attention, if almost in each chapter did not have to go very far and returning after that the same way to his room. It does not save even a great acting game of the girl who woken Cooper, – she will repeat your next goal once again if you try to roll out the way or delay for a second. Why then collective objects to scatter, which you can easily find?
The riddles are forced to remember Portal, TO.W.IN.E. And other similar games. The phone of the main character, with the help of which it binds to the mysterious assistant, is able to absorb the colors of special cubes placed at each level. This allows you to repaint Cuba, and also pass through the barriers – what color are they, such and should be with you “with you”. The same applies to vertical barriers, often serving bridges – if they are white, there should be orange or green in the phone, otherwise you fall into the abyss, and you have to start everything again.
This unpleasant flaw is connected with this – some levels can be rather long and consisting of several stages, and death under the very end means the need to return to the starting point and once again solve the first puzzles. It takes not so much time – after all, you already know the solutions – but still the pace is knocked down. The design of the puzzles themselves often deludes – at any time you can be in a hopeless situation, however, the game does not inform. You will run out of the room in the room, switch colors, and then it turns out that the orange color you “destroyed” in green Cuba (yes, here you can do it), and therefore lost a few minutes wasted. It is necessary to press pause and restart the level – for such cases such an option was introduced.Phone for convenience is painted in the color that you are absorbed.
Despite this, the riddles turned out to be quite good. Every floor is offered some new condition: the color addition will appear, then peculiar magnets attracting the hero will hang on the walls when colors. As in all normal puzzles, the player allows you to gradually figure out these mechanics, offering more and more difficult tasks. In most cases, it is enough to look at the next door, see the colors of the barriers and repel from it. Well, if the door cannot be immediately visible immediately, you will have to experiment, and you can easily get stuck due to a random error.
To at least somehow tie two components The Spectrum Retreat, The developer (he almost did everything alone for five years) scattered through rooms with colored cubes. All sorts of memories, notes, brochures and other things with which the player must interact for understanding what is happening. And the author is so worried about what you miss a thing that one and the same note sometimes puts in five different rooms, if only you found it and read it. If this is all so important, it should come up with a more elegant solution.
Due to such a clear separation on the plot episodes and stages with riddles from The Spectrum Retreat do you get very tired. First, the details of the story fall on you, and then you spend more than half an hour at a consistent decision of the riddles and you will not recognize anything new, just playing in the like Portal. And if Valve Skootly mixed the narrative element with fascinating tests, it is difficult to get it here to get rid of the idea that one game was killed by another.
The plot project is trying to seem horror, it turns into a thriller with changing poses by mannequins. The creator offers a whole cocktail from the following: here and the financial situation of the American family, and diseases, and the problems associated with the health care system, and corruption. The author is trying to convey to the player some thoughts, but many of his ideas are too superficial, and some details remain untreated at all. And addictive initial history becomes with time less interesting, especially when it is constantly interrupted.Without the necessary color in the phone via barriers will not pass.***
Release the game consisting exclusively of puzzles, can afford a few – Jonathan Bloou (Jonathan Blow) with his The Witness can be considered an exception to the rules. Everyone is trying to add aneractive element, so that Mysteriousness more. So B The Spectrum Retreat They did the same, but in the end the plot is not brought to mind, and the riddles too often put a player in a hopeless position, forcing the level. On unbearable and this can be considered a good entertainment if you want something like Portal, but in other cases to spend time on the game.
Pros: stylish location design;A lot of interesting puzzles with unusual gameplay mechanics.
Minuses: The plot and riddles are poorly connected;Many puzzles become unresolved until they restart the level;Not all topics of history are well disclosed, and some of the questions remained unanswered;At the hotel, the character moves too slowly.