Re:Turn 2 Runaway , is Red Ego Games’ next installment to the Re:Turn series that had a lot of success for an indie title back in 2020, and the second game, in essence, is a 2D psychological horror adventure game that’s also not a traditional indie horror title either. It takes influences from Corpse Party and Saw but turns those influences with their twist into the game.
It picks up on where the first installment left off and also continues on the concept of a 2D adventure game, with Saki finding items to help her solve puzzles as the story progresses. Most of the puzzles are straightforward, such as finding a mop handle to pry the door open going around and collecting pieces of notes for the code, or simply discovering a key to a door. Red Ego Games listened to the feedback of the first game and made a lot of improvements to the core gameplay while introducing new mechanics as well. Saki isn’t as slow as she used to be in the first game and she also can dodge through enemies while being chased. The biggest and best mechanic is the UV len attachment for her flashlight, which allows Saki to find hidden journal pages that tell more about the game’s world and hidden items for some of the many puzzles.
The main appeal of both the Re:Turn 2 is their visuals, it’s stunning. The art direction is really good and on point, even the pixel art of the characters being pretty, well animated, and expressive. The emotions of each character are just beautiful, even of the strange creatures as well, their eerieness and designs just added more into the atmosphere. This specific art direction kind of created a “minimalist horror”, like there are scary, gory, and messed up scenes but also there are not of them to the point that they seem off-putting and overwhelming to the players. The cherry on top for this game is its sound design, the atmospheric soundtrack and effects of anything in-game just sound great and give chills down your spine.
While the game does seem like it has a lot of things going for it, it’s held back by a lot of major problems as well. The biggest problem of the game is the amount of backtracking that you have to do for an item of a puzzle is very off-putting especially if it’s the area that’s filled with a lot of enemies that roam around; from time to time, it’s just backtracking that makes the game loses its sense of a horror game due to the lack of varieties of enemies and weird pacing. Despite the game’s main concentration being its puzzles, they are a double-edged sword, some of the puzzles are very tedious which created the backtracking I mentioned and the lack of instructions or goals is what makes the puzzles bad because sometimes you don’t know what you have to do besides going to every place and try out any item you find. From time to time, the game’s UI gets bugged a lot if you accidentally click the open menu button and interacting button at the same time and that will force you to restart the game each time if that happens!
My last big problem is the writing of the characters. The writing of characters and dialogues on certain occasions especially makes the characters don’t belong to the eerie premises and it is really weird and off-putting. For example, a few chapters after the introduction to Saki, she found an abandoned shed that we, the players, the writer, and Saki herself know that it’s safe to stay there for the night after clearing it. Then after she woke up from her nap and just suddenly said “I’m still alive!”, like there’s nothing wrong with what Saki said but the dialogue itself could have been something much better and more relevant than that. it’s just that it’s off-putting to the players and also breaks immersion. At certain points of the game. you can play as the younger version of Ayumi to find out what happened to her, but sometimes you can’t differentiate her from Saki due to their writing pretty much being the same. Essentially they are the same person but with different names and looks.
Generally, the writing of the game as a whole isn’t bad it’s pretty decent for an indie game but at the same time, the writing for characters and dialogues can use a step-up to help create more expressive and memorable characters.
Despite all the criticisms and problems, I think that Re:Turn 2 Runaway is a competently, nicely, and delicately made game with good sound design, an eerie atmosphere, and interesting premises! I find it enjoyable to beat in one sitting, it’s about 5-6 hours and doesn’t wear out its welcome.
Score: 6 out of 10
Reviewed on PC