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The Spectrum Retreat review for Xbox One, PC, PS4, Switch


Platform: Xbox One
Also On: PC, PS4, Switch, PC
Publisher: Ripstone
Developer: Dan Smith Studios
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: T

The Spectrum Retreat isn’t going to win any awards for originality. It follows closely in the footsteps of Portal — which is to say it also follows in the footsteps of The Witness, and The Talos Principle, and Quantum Conundrum, and Qube, and Chromagun, and…well, let’s just put the number conservatively of games that have been influenced by Portal over the past decade at “a lot”.

Spectrum Retreat

Like all of those Portal clones (Portalikes?), it should go without saying that The Spectrum Retreat isn’t as good as the original. But, also like all those clones, just because this game isn’t very original doesn’t mean it’s not good.

For one thing, it’s gorgeous. The game is set in a mysterious hotel staffed by androids, and everything looks appropriately shiny, crisp, and sleek, with just the right amount of menace.

Even more importantly, the puzzles in The Spectrum Retreat are top-notch. Like pretty much all the games that I listed up top, here you’re playing around with different colours in order to unlock doors and create bridges and whatnot, but it’s too the game’s credit that it never feels any more derivative than it needs to. Moreover, the puzzles here present a good amount of challenge, mixing together rooms you’ll fly right through with rooms that may take a little more time to figure out.

Where the game falls a little short of its influences is, like so many other Portal imitators, is the story. It’s enough to keep things moving along at a decent pace, but there’s little here that will stick with you after you’re done. There are no memorable characters either, and, all in all, it’s more serviceable than anything else.

But, on the bright side, all those lacklustre elements are in the service of a puzzle game that’s pretty solid. The Spectrum Retreat isn’t about to make anyone forgot Portal (or The Talos Principle, or The Witness, or…), but it is enough to provide a decent enough diversion if you’re in the mood for a moderately challenging experience.

Ripstone provided us with a Spectrum Retreat Xbox One code for review purposes.

Grade: B