A point-and-click adventure gem for VR players


Retropolis 1 & 2 Review: A point-and-click adventure gem for VR players

Image: Peanut Button

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Retropolis faithfully brings the soul of classic point-and-click adventures to VR, and you don’t have to be a big fan of the genre to enjoy these games.

The first game of the series is called “The Secret of Retropolis” and was released in 2021 for Meta Quest and SteamVR. The second game, called “Retropolis 2: Never Say Goodbye,” followed in early 2024 for the same VR platforms. According to a Playstation Store listing for the game, the studio is also working on a PSVR 2 version of the game.

I finished Retropolis 2 over the weekend and was so intrigued that I played and finished the first game as well. You don’t need to have played the first game to understand and enjoy the story of the second, but it’s an advantage to have done so, as it introduces the main characters and their backstory with more depth.

If this review has piqued your interest, start with the first game. And rest assured, Retropolis 2 is a step-up in every way: the graphics, storytelling, gameplay, and scope are all better.

Retropolis 1 & 2: Review in a nutshell

Retropolis brings the best of point-and-click adventure to VR without reinventing the wheel. The puzzles are mostly well done, but the real strength of Retropolis lies in its gorgeous film noir world and characters. Despite what the setting might suggest, nothing here is robotic.

Retropolis is for you if you …

  • like story-driven and humorous adventure games,
  • love film noir elements and
  • are looking for a VR game that can be played effortlessly while sitting.

Retropolis isn’t for you if you …

  • are more into action games than puzzle-solving and
  • don’t like stylized graphics.

A fascinating cyberpunk setting

Let me start this review by confessing that point-and-click adventures are not my favorite genre, even though I enjoyed playing one or two of them in my childhood and teenage years.

Before I started playing Retropolis 2, I wondered why I would want to play a point-and-click adventure game in VR. VR thrives on physical movement and interaction with your hands. Isn’t that genre a bit out of place here?

The first reason I liked Retropolis 2 right away is that it’s incredibly comfortable to play. I played it over the weekend lying on my side on the couch without having to make any compromises in terms of gameplay. If you’re looking for a less strenuous VR experience, Retropolis is as good as it gets.

The second reason is that I was fascinated by the world of this game from the beginning. Retropolis is a city populated only by robots, built as a reminder of the human world as it once was. However, as the game suggests, humanity is history, and what remains of the post-apocalyptic city are robots with human-almost-too-human traits. Retropolis is therefore a mirror of humanity, with all its light and dark sides.

The story is a classic film noir tale: protagonist Philip Log, a detective with a troubled past, is hired by movie star Jenny Montage to find a special item. But in the process, Log uncovers a conspiracy that threatens the entire city of Retropolis.

The first game is quite short and serves as an introduction to this atmospheric world and its characters, while the second, much more extensive game unfolds a whole other plot in four episodes.

Great characters and dialog

While the first game deals with a corrupt mayor, the second part’s dark machinations take on far greater proportions when a mysterious figure known as the Magician appears on the scene. The antihero Philip Log is driven less by solving the crimes than by his love for Jenny Montage, who is at the center of the conspiracy and disappears at the end of the first game. The second game begins a year after her disappearance when Log follows a new lead.

During your adventure, you will visit a variety of locations, including a bar, a lighthouse, a prison, and an opera house, and meet quirky and interesting characters. Retropolis lives from its characters and the witty and humorous dialogues that are the soul of this game.

The player holds a beer bottle in his hand, opposite him a robot bartender behind a bar.

All the characters and locations were drawn and animated by hand using the VR app Quill. | Picture: Peanut Button

Like a classic point-and-click adventure game, you move from room to room, collecting items and solving puzzles by combining items with objects in the world. Thanks to extendable arms and snap turn, you can do this without any movement or physical effort. The quality of the puzzles varies, and some of them took me a long time to solve. Furthermore, I found that the “find the code” types of puzzles were a little too common. But overall, I felt well entertained by the puzzle-solving.

If you get stuck, you can access an online manual right in the game. As a point-and-click novice, I was glad to have this.

Conclusion: Recommended even if you are not a fan of point-and-click adventures

In the end, it wasn’t the puzzles that kept me invested in Retropolis. It was the plot, which I wanted to know how it would continue, the characters, the atmospheric film noir locations, the melancholy jazz soundtrack, the humor and tragedy of humanized robot existences, in short: the world Retropolis transported me to.

The game has a finale, but the story of Philip Log and Jenny Montage doesn’t end there. I’m already looking forward to a possible sequel to this adventure.

You can buy Retropolis here:

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