March 30, 2023

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The Spectrum Retreat – Xbox Review


Review by Kerith Busby
If like me you missed this game being shown at E3 you may be wondering what its all about, Spectrum retreat is a first-person view narrative-driven puzzle game heavily based around colour puzzles which has been made by Dan Smith and Ripstone. The controls are nice and simple with only a few buttons required and there are settings available to change the axis to inverted and you can adjust the sensitivity to make things suited to your own play method.
The game looks very clean and the graphics are good, it is set in Penrose hotel which gives off a feel as if your in the hotel from the shining and there are times in the game where you will find yourself very disorientated by the hotel corridors as they flow back onto each other in a way that physics shouldn’t allow or at least that is how it makes you feel.

The game begins with you being woken up by the manager of the Hotel who like all the staff there are robots except the manager is an AI rather than just a robot, He greets you and invites you for breakfast. Shortly after he leaves, you hear a phone ringing in your room which is where you start to realise things are not entirely as they seem as you first speak to Cooper who explains she is going to try and get you out of the hotel as she thinks your being kept there against your will.
From there as you follow the narrative that is laid out she will ring you and guide you to areas that you need to investigate all the while reminding you to act naturally so that the hotel manager doesn’t suspect anything, as you move through the game you will start to piece together fragments of your memory and you will learn how you came to be here in the Penrose hotel.

On each floor there is a challenge area you are working to unlocking, as you complete the area you will need to go back to sleep so that the cycle resets, the first time you do this you will notice little things like the hotel managers wording changing and you will notice that you keep marking the exact same day off in the diary on the desk (should you choose to do so that is). With each floor you clear and you move higher through the floors in the hotel the game starts to change, the music adjusts the robots start to change their behaviour the manager adapts constantly and changing each day, the game is very immersive and really pulls you in and makes you feel the tension around you. The more you move through the hotel the more your memeories start to return and you learn why your there and what has happened to you and your family previously.
There are times the game will make you jump and other times it will just leave you on edge which was interesting as it was not something I expected when I agreed to do a review for what I assumed would just be another puzzle game.

I would mention that where there are areas in the game that are purposefully (or so I believe) rendered incorrectly to keep the eerie feel going and to make it all seem a bit “wrong” which was a nice touch. Though I would add in case anyone has the same issue I did manage to soft lock the game at one point when I had to restart a challenge as had got myself stuck and none of the interaction commands would work so if that does happen just fully power down the console and reload the game and it should let you pick up where you left off but with working controls.
I was very happy with the game and would highly recommend people giving it a go
Overall Score –  8/10