[Beyond PlayStation] The Spectrum Retreat Review
The Spectrum retreat is a mystery first-person puzzle adventure from Dan Smith and Ripstone on Nintendo Switch. Learn more about it in our The Spectrum Retreat review!
You start your journey inside your room at The Penrose, an art-deco infused getaway. It seems like a very relaxed and charming location but, as you’ll soon realize, something is very wrong. You will start to get weird messages on your phone about acting normal so that someone can help you escape, but… escape from what? A great breakfast at a fancy restaurant in a fancy hotel? But once you get “the call,” you’ll start to understand that something is definitely going on.
You’ll move with the left analog stick and look around with the right one. Jumping is set to the A button, as is usually the case, and you can interact with the ZR button. Your other skill is set to the ZL button and it’s a very important one since it is your teleport. This is a skill you won’t gain access to until later in the game, but what it will basically do is zoom you towards a colored circle as long as you are currently carrying the same color as the one in the circle – more on the colors thing in a bit.
Your phone is actually a special device that will allow you to swap and absorb colors, an ability that is key for completing the color-based challenges that you need to solve to be able to progress in the game as you regain some of your memory back bit by bit. The game will start you off with some simple puzzles so that you can get used to the gameplay mechanics, but within your first hour playing the difficulty will ramp up. Each challenge will improve your level as you authenticate your credentials, bringing you closer and closer to solving the mystery.
There are doors and floor sections that are color-coded, and you need to have the right color on you to be able to pass through it – this basic formula leads to some interesting puzzles to solve. You’ll need to make the most of this gameplay mechanic by moving colors between surfaces, using holes in the walls or objects hanging from above to hold a color that you’re going to need a bit later in the puzzle. Once you get to the third challenge you will run into some moments when you will basically be stuck after making a mistake, and this will require that you select the Restart Challenge option from the pause menu. Knowing what you did wrong will allow you to make the right choice during your second go, and this new knowledge will help you in subsequent puzzles as well.
You will alternate between the walking simulator style sections that have you exploring the hotel, looking for new information that will allow you to open each new door that is protected with an electronic access panel that demands you require you to input a code. The code for the first door will be contained in that area, but others might need you to explore new spots in the hotel as you try not to alert the hotel’s staff about how you’re trying to escape the location. While exploring the hotel you should keep an eye out for glowing energy cubes that contain logs that will help you learn more about your location and what is really going on.
In the game’s option menu you can change a couple of settings for the Y axis and the sensitivity of the right analog stick, which is a must if you sometimes get dizzy playin first person games. You can also activate or deactivate the subtitles, as well select the level for sound, voice and music. The final setting is for color which is an important one as puzzles are color-coded. The game has a Standard setting as well as an Imposible setting in which colors are black and white, and it also has settings for Deuteranopia/Protanopia and Tripanopia, so that more people can enjoy the game.
The Spectrum Retreat is a clever and fun puzzle game with a good story that will keep you engaged for around 5-6 hours depending on how good you are with puzzles. None of the puzzles are too tricky, nor are they unfair, making this a relaxing experience with just the right amount of challenge. Dan Smith and his team did a wonderful job at creating an interesting location with a solid story that will keep you guessing as to what the next twist is going to be. Go get it today on Nintendo Switch!
This The Spectrum Retreat review is based on a Nintendo Switch game provided by Ripstone.