Retropolis 2: Never Say Goodbye Beautifully Translates Point-And-Click To VR On Quest & Steam

Like flipping through the familiar red and blue pages of a well-worn old book, seeing the evolution of point-and-click adventure games going from the pixelated classics of the ’90s to some of the recent releases we’ve seen in virtual reality has been a magical journey. Early games like the Tex Murphy adventures or Myst offered a unique blend of storytelling mixed with puzzle-solving that captivated gamers, and with the advent of virtual reality the genre has found a new dimension to explore.

The recently released Retropolis 2: Never Say Goodbye is a shining example of a game that not only pays tribute to those classics but also looks to bring new life to a time honored style of gaming. Developed by the team at Peanut Button Studios, Retropolis 2 continues the legacy of its predecessor, The Secret of Retropolis, enhancing the experience we saw in the first game. With every scene and character being hand-drawn and painted in VR, both games stand out as masterpieces of art and storytelling. 

A Look Back: The Secret of Retropolis

Before we dive into the world of Retropolis 2, we should take a look back and appreciate where it all began. The Secret of Retropolis, released in 2021, set the stage with its engaging narrative and visually stunning artwork that captured the essence of those old classic film noir detective sagas but this time through a futuristic lens. Players were introduced to a world where mysteries lurk around every corner and, while the game was well received on all platforms it released on, it was fairly short and seemed more like it was trying to give us a glimpse of what might come in the sequel we now have.

How Much Of The Secret Of Retropolis Was Built Inside VR
Read how characters and environments in The Secret of Retropolis were built inside VR using Quill, as developer Peanut Button starts thinking about a Chapter 3.

Retropolis 2: Never Say Goodbye builds on this foundation by expanding on the Retropolis universe and both deepening and continuing the narrative from the first game. This continuity and expansion are handled with care, with Peanut Button ensuring fans of the first game feel right at home while also welcoming new players with an intriguing plot and accessible gameplay that doesn’t require intimate knowledge of the events of the first game in order to be enjoyable.

Characters and Dialogue: The Heart of the Story

At the heart of Retropolis 2 is a story narrated by the game’s main character, Phillip Log, the enigmatic detective with a troubled past. The story unfolds as he tries to unravel a new mystery that has him searching for his one true love, Jenny Montage who’s been kidnapped by the games villain, The Magician. Retropolis 2 also introduces a new cast of characters, each with their own motivations and secrets. Similar to those old choose-your-own-adventure books, the dialogue choices you make influence the story being told around you. Those choices also add a bit of depth to the narrative and possibly even a bit of replay value. The dialogue choices can also offers some witty and dark humor in places, which can be a nice break in the story’s tense atmosphere.

Graphics and Visual Style: Hand-Painted Brilliance

The visual appeal of Retropolis 2 is immediately apparent from the minute the game starts with everything the player sees in the environments around them being a testament to the dedication and skill of the artists who created this world. The hand drawn environments are richly detailed and character animations and interactions are nicely done conveying emotions and personality. Retropolis 2’s art style is filled with backdrops that are integral to the storytelling. From dimly lit alleyways, to Phillip’s office/apartment, every level is crafted with an eye for detail and the use of lighting and shadow is also particularly noteworthy, adding layers of depth to these hand-drawn scenes.

Sound Design and Voice Acting

The sound design in Retropolis 2 is also outstanding and blends nicely with the game’s visuals, complementing the mood of each scene perfectly. Musical styles ranging from jazzy tunes coming out of the jukebox in the robot bar, to the suspenseful melodies found throughout the game are perfectly fitting to Retropolis 2’s film noir style. The sound effects are also mixed in appropriately and well-timed, some providing crucial feedback during interactive segments and adding to the overall immersion. As for the games voice acting, it’s very well done with each voice actor fitting the character they were playing perfectly. This is the one area I felt a sense of lower production value, though, as the presentation lessens the sense of immersion. Voices sounding tinny, hollow and distant makes sense narratively in a world overtaken by robots, but to human ears it’s distracting. This is not a deal breaker, but set against the high quality of the music and background artwork, it stood out enough that it should be mentioned.

Comfort and Controls

When it comes to the comfort levels in Retropolis 2, since this game takes place from a static position and the only artificial movement is snap turning, most players should find it a comfortable experience in VR. Retropolis 2 can be played either seated or standing, but since there is no real incentive to get up and move around, we recommend just kicking back and playing it seated in your favorite swivel chair.

As for the controls, they are fairly simple, making it easy for players of all skill levels to dive right in. Retropolis 2 uses a combination of gaze-based interactions and controller inputs for puzzle solving and locomotion that can sometimes require thoughtful consideration, but never end up being so complex that the gameplay becomes frustrating.

Case Closed

Retropolis 2: Never Say Goodbye is a hand-drawn love letter to the classic point-and-click adventure games that came before it and is a true gift for VR enthusiasts who appreciate a well-crafted story. The game is available to play now for PCVR headsets on Steam and standalone on Quest. We feel Retropolis is definitely a case worthy of taking on, and one that will leave you pondering its mysteries long after the credits roll.

Peanut Button told UploadVR they have the story worked out for a third installment in Retropolis with work beginning on an Apple Vision Pro release for the existing chapters.

We’ll have more coverage of Retropolis soon.

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