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Metascore
70

Mixed or average reviews - based on 7 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: A challenging, first-person puzzle game set in the near future when you will explore a striking art-deco hotel that holds a deep-seeded mystery surrounding your current stay. Your desire to unearth the truth is obstructed by an array of color-coded puzzles, mind-bending physics challenges,A challenging, first-person puzzle game set in the near future when you will explore a striking art-deco hotel that holds a deep-seeded mystery surrounding your current stay. Your desire to unearth the truth is obstructed by an array of color-coded puzzles, mind-bending physics challenges, and the growing fear of exposing your true intentions. Expand

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 7
  2. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Jul 10, 2018
    90
    The Spectrum Retreat comes across as a great success from a special talent – one who has provided a fun, rewarding puzzling narrative game that sticks with you.
  2. Jul 10, 2018
    80
    The Spectrum Retreat sports some very interesting and satisfying puzzles, but it fails in providing an intriguing story backdrop connecting them. Nonetheless, it's still one of the best first person puzzlers this gen, and it definitely deserves a go.
  3. Jul 9, 2018
    77
    An interesting puzzler that does not surprises, but does almost everything ok.
  4. Jul 19, 2018
    73
    An original title with a split personality, half puzzle game and half walking simulator. Both parts are brilliantly developed, but their forced dichotomy breaks the rhythm of the game.
  5. Jul 16, 2018
    68
    The Spectrum Retreat’s greatest achievement is how engaging, challenging and unnerving the whole experience can be. The drawback however, and the bane of most puzzle games, is that there really isn’t much longevity to it. That said, Dan Smith’s debut project is certainly a game that any fan of the genre should try out, and for his first attempt, Dan shows a great deal of promise for his future in game development.
  6. Jul 9, 2018
    60
    The Spectrum Retreat has a tragic story about a family cast aside by the American health care system. That much becomes apparent early on, but the finer details are hidden behind too many consecutive puzzles. There's a narrative worth hearing here, but the cadence at which it's told is just a little bit off. That, mixed with the good-but-not-outstanding puzzle design, keeps The Spectrum Retreat from being a truly great stay.
  7. 50
    The Spectrum Retreat is a perfectly serviceable puzzler, but it rarely rises above mediocrity. There's potential within the ground of the Penrose Hotel, but it's never capitalized on.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Jul 19, 2018
    8
    You’ll awaken in the hotel with an upbeat android at your door informing you that your breakfast is served in the hotel’s restaurant. If theYou’ll awaken in the hotel with an upbeat android at your door informing you that your breakfast is served in the hotel’s restaurant. If the fact that the hotel is suspiciously vacant didn’t raise a red flag for you sooner, a few ominous phone calls and creepy text messages will allude to the fact that not everything at the Spectrum Retreat is what it seems. You’ll soon be navigating through the hotel’s restricted areas, attempting to bypass a number of security features in an effort to escape with the mysterious caller on the other end of the phone being your only aide. Is she trying to trap you or free you? You’ll have to venture deeper into the strange resort to find out.

    The gameplay leans heavily on the walking sim genre, with the game split between two segments: open areas of the hotel which will expand organically, and the restricted areas which work similar to the trials from the Portal franchise. In the hotel, you will need to explore and interact with objects to locate the key code needed to proceed through the many locked areas, which will transport you into the second phase, which uses your phone to absorb colors and place them in white areas, akin to the portal gun from the previously mentioned franchise. Completing these actions is essentially adding or removing power to specific barriers or floors that block the path forward. These make up the majority of the puzzles and are challenging just enough to keep you immersed in the game world, are rarely taxing, and leave the story to be the main draw to push forward. Finding the codes needed to access these hidden areas is actually a bit more involved and difficult than the puzzles themselves, with the answers often being hidden in plain sight. Finding the first door code actually took me longer to complete than the five rooms that followed in the restricted area, and it was plainly written on a do not disturb door hanger on the next door down the hall.

    Death isn’t much of a thing at the Spectrum, since failure results in you starting the area over almost immediately. While most of the puzzles can be completed in a minute or so, some of the more tedious brain busters require you to backtrack to and fro within the puzzle, which makes starting over a bit of a chore due to the slow walking speed our character exhibits, lacking a proper sprint or run option.

    There are some light horror elements tucked away, with a few of the automated servants popping in when discovered in an area you are not supposed to be in causing the occasional jump scare. Their smooth featureless faces with the perky automated voices resulted in me never feeling as if I was alone within the hotel, despite not displaying much of a visible threat. Throughout the journey, the game world or your phone would stutter as if there was a glitch in the matrix.

    The visuals are a mixed bag, with the hotel areas looking astounding, with detailed textures on the tile floor or carpet and small details throughout that make the desolate hotel feel as if someone was just there, leaving their empty bottle or cup for the staff to pick up. I spent a great deal of time just exploring the layout of the area taking in the sights, looking for the small number of collectible glowing cubes that add to the mystery of who or what is running the hotel. The restricted areas are far less interesting to look at, with dark metallic looking walls that make up the entirety of the world aside from the assets the player is meant to interact with. This resulted in me rushing through these areas simply to get back into the hotel to unravel the mysteries that it held.

    The controls work as they should and are extremely accessible, with most actions being assigned to the trigger button, with the sticks being used to look and move. I found the look option to be a bit clunky, but passable as pin point accuracy is rarely required.

    Clocking in at a little less than three hours, there isn’t much to see here once you’ve completed the game, unless you wish to search out the additional cubes that I mentioned previously. Being a budget priced game, it is worth the cost of admission. With only a total of nine collectibles, most players will find these within the initial playthrough, as most are included in linear areas that are required to be explored and emit a blue glow, requiring little effort to locate. With Portal seeming to be a dead franchise, players who need a rogue AI to complicate their life will enjoy checking in to The Spectrum Retreat.
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