When you think of first-person puzzle games the first thought that comes to your head is probably the cult classic Portal series or maybe something newer like The Talos Principle or Antichamber.
Spectrum retreat comes in the genre wanting a spot with the greats, but does it manage to achieve something truly great or does it fail in its execution?
The story start with an android knocking on your hotel door, you soon will find your phone and head off to breakfast. While the eerie feeling of mystery flows through the hotel you will soon find out what you need to do.
You will slowly regain your memory by solving puzzles, you will remember old conversations or other details of your past. It is a simple but intuitive way to tell a story.
The mystery of the hotel is what drives this experience forward, but it becomes very obvious what the story is half way through, the hints pretty much reveal the whole story and how it is going to end as well. I don’t mind when you are given a clue of what happens in the story but when it is too obvious it ends up feeling frustrating.
If the atmosphere and the mystery is what you try to focus, the player shouldn’t be able to be find out exactly what is happening until the very end, the mystery gets ruined otherwise.
The game consists of two seperate parts, parts where you solve puzzles and parts where you spend time in the hotel unraveling the story.
Each level is its own separate puzzle with the elevator taking you to the next one. It clearly draws its inspiration from Portal even in the atmosphere department.
There are a couple of different puzzle design concepts, color coded puzzles, teleportation and rotating the room around.
Puzzles are what sets this game apart. The whole idea is to take colors off of cubes and put them on other cubes, it seems weird but works in practice. They are executed rather well, however, there are problems with them. You can get stuck at certain parts without a way out, having to restart the entire level because you made one wrong decision is infuriating, and a very common occurrence in this game.
If you have an itch for a first-person puzzle game this will probably fulfill your needs. However, if you are looking for a good storyline there are better options.
Considering the price it isn’t really too bad of a choice for about 5 hours of fun.
It’s available on PC, Xbox One and PS4.