Game Review: Re:Turn 2 – Runaway (Nintendo Switch)

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Re:Turn seems to have uturned on it’s One Way Trip to a game, as Red Ego Games have returned with a sequel to Re:Turn – One Way Trip and it is known as Re:Turn 2 – Runaway. Is this one survival horror you will want to runaway from? let’s take a look and find out!

return2-game-icon Title: Re:Turn 2 – Runaway
Publisher: Red Ego Games
Developer: Red Ego Games
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Audio: English
Subtitles: English (White)
Local Players: 1
Online Players: N/A
Install: YES (700MB)

Our View:

Developed and published by Red Ego Games, Re:Turn 2 – Runaway is a pixel art styled survival-horror side-scrolling game that acts as a direct sequel to the events of Re:Turn – One Way Trip, and once again delivers atmospheric immersion through a compelling narrative.

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Re:Turn – One Way Trip, which launched in 2020, caught my attention due to its Japanese inspired visuals and survival-horror styled mystery themes, and saw Saki and her friends go camping in the mountains only to be lured into a mysterious abandoned train. As the story unfolded players uncovered secrets about the train and attempted to escape, with Saki and, her fiancé Sen, being the only known survivors.

This second game (Re:Turn 2 – Runaway) continues these events and begins with Saki and Sen trying to leave the train; however the spirit haunting the train, named Ayumi,  has other plans. Without spoiling the events of this twisted, and rather jump-sacred filled, story Saki, who manages to escape the train, finds herself returning to it in order to rescue her friends and uncover the truth behind Ayumi.

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As with the previous game Re:Turn 2 – Runaway plays as a side-scrolling pixel art adventure title with visual novel styled cut-scenes mixed in to deliver plot points at crucial moments. The formula remains pretty much unchanged from the original experience, with the only major difference being the darker visual tone and full voice acting. Re:Turn has always been a rather visually dark game and this helps to create a more intense atmosphere, however with its sequel the visuals are even darker and it becomes almost impossible to see what is going on.

I played Re:Turn 2 – Runaway in the late hours of the night, and adjusted the brightness to the max (in-game), and still found it incredibly difficult to navigate my way through. Even with the flashlight turned on it made very little difference and the addition of a new UV lense (which aids in finding hidden objects and messages) made it all the more difficult to see anything on screen. Naturally it adds to the atmosphere, but if it wasn’t for the bright white icons that appear to highlight a point of interest then I would have no idea what I was doing.

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This leads me on to another failing point of my experience with Re:Turn 2 – Runaway, and it is reminiscence of elements from the first game.  Outside of the side-scrolling exploration and visual novel elements are puzzle elements that, in similar to Resident Evil, require items to be discovered, combined and then used at a specific point. However unlike said game, which are usually obvious on where and how these items should be used, this element seems non-existent in Re:Turn 2 – Runaway. In other words you can easily spend time running back and forth with no real idea on what to do next, and then randomly discover what needs to be done after clicking on everything available in the area.

For instance during the first chapter a rusty nail can be found on the floor in one of the carriages, and the assumption would be to use it to pick a locked door in a nearby carriage. In reality the rusty nail needs to be combined with the necklace (which is already in your possession) in order to use it as a fishing rod to retrieve (ironically) a key from one of the carriages restrooms. Once you know the solution it all becomes pretty clear and self explanatory, but getting to said solution is not always straight forward.

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Thankfully some cryptic clues are given in the text when clicking on points of interest in an area. In most cases text that sounds like it has an extra meaning behind it, i.e. “this door is locked” or “this doll still has secrets to share”, will usually mean that you need to acquire something first before being able to interact with it. Additionally in some cases a red exclamation mark will appear above Saki’s head to indicate that this location is something of importance.

For me these puzzle elements felt too much like guess work or plain luck and instead requires you to click on everything rather than having any desired meaning or purpose behind it. Another example is in the second chapter when Saki begins to explore a hut. A locked tool box can be found in the area and the only way to unlock it is by knowing the password found on a hidden note; however the option to unlock said tool box will not present itself until you have seen the document containing the password. In the same area you will also need to light a candle, which acts as a save point, using your lighter; but no instructions are given.

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I’m not suggesting that the game should hold your hand and guide you on how to solve the puzzles , find items or how to combine them, but outside of a very basic static tutorial at the beginning of the game there is very little guidance given. It would have been nice if the opening chapter of the game acted as a re-introduction to the different elements of the game and nurtured players into the experience they remember, rather than dropping players in the deep end and leaving them to figure things out.

This aside; another issue I had with my experience of Re:Turn 2 – Runaway relates to the spirits that occasionally hunt you down in the game. As with the first game spirits, which look more like demonic monsters, will patrol the area and you will occasionally have to hide from them in order to survive. A seemingly new mechanic now allows you to, if encountered, dodge them, but not only does your timing have to be precise but it uses all of your stamina gauge. If you do encounter one of these spirits, and successfully dodge, you’ll then have the challenge of successfully escaping  in order to survive – as naturally once you are caught its GAME OVER.

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Amusingly that’s not my disappointing experience with this gameplay mechanic, although I did die consecutively and had to restart the game due to lack of auto-save before life or death encounters, as instead my issue was with the hide mechanic. As you explore the train certain areas will have areas that you can hide in. Realistically if you encounter the spirit patrolling the area you should be able to run to one of these locations and hide within for safety. Sadly on numerous occasions this did not work and, despite being hidden, the GAME OVER animation screen would appear once the spirit had walked to me. Whether or not this was a bug during my experience or that you are meant to run a greater distance before hiding is unclear, but it did leave me confused and a bit frustrated.

In reality Re:Turn 2 – Runaway seems to rely quite heavily on past experiences with the first game and as a result this sequel does seem to suffer in comparison. It does very little (if anything at all) to guide new players into the experience and expects you to know everything (but the basic controls) from the start. At very least the game does give a non-visual-description of the events of the first game; but even this could have been presented better by displaying visuals from the first game, such as the impressive visual artwork, rather than a black screen filled with text.

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Disappointing experiences aside Re:Turn 2 – Runaway does improve the original experience by introducing full voiced dialogue. The previous game delivered an intense atmospheric experience that could only be improved with voice-over and for this second game the developers have acknowledged those criticisms and added it to the sequel. Whether it be a cut-scene or interaction with an object voice-over dialogue will be played out of your speakers and the voice actors do an exceptional job of bringing life to the characters and allowing the player to immerse themselves more into the story unfolding before their eyes.

So what does Re;Turn 2 – Runaway have to offer? Well it is a direct sequel, and a continuation of the story, to the events of Re:Turn – One Way Trip and sees players take control of the female protagonist Saki who is looking to rescue her friends and uncover the truth surrounding the spirit of Ayumi. This is presented in a 2D sprite based formula where the player will walk (and run) in side-scrolling fashion and interact with doors to move to different areas. To progress the story players need to reach specific points, and this will include solving puzzles – which is done by locating items scattered around the area – and moving to new undiscovered locations. It’s a simplistic game, in terms of presentation and interaction, but at the same time delivers an atmospheric experience that remains true to the original game.

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While Re:Turn 2 – Runaway does expand the original story and introduce new gameplay elements, I did not enjoy my experience as much as the original. Whether it is because the expectation was already set – as a result of my experiences with the previous game – or because of the difficulties and issues I encountered remains to be seen; but that being said Re:Turn 2 – Runaway is ideally for fans of the original to explore and not for newcomers. Of course Re:Turn 2 – Runaway retains the elements that made the original great, and expands upon them in varying ways, but as a stand-a-lone product it’s not that great.

As a sequel, then it is as good as it should be if not a little be flawed in certain aspects. If you are looking to continue the explorative adventures of Saki in a mysterious and haunted train, then Re:Turn 2 – Runaway is definitely worth checking out; but if you’ve had your fill from the first game then there isn’t really much new to see here other than added lore.

Score: review-stars-4

Re:Turn 2 – Runaway is now available digitally for the Nintendo Switch via the Nintendo eShop and is also available for the Xbox One and Windows PC.

About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has produced content for ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4.

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