When I first got my Oculus quest this past Christmas the first thing I did was scour the store for games to play. Nothing caught my eye until the game The Secret of Retropolis popped up with raving reviews. Released on July 21, 2021 on Steam and Oculus for $12.99, this game has taken the VR world and my love for VR games by storm.  

Jumping right in, you play as a robot detective, the familiar drawl of an old-timey voiceover welcomes you in with a background of being down on your luck in a city created to keep the ‘old world’ alive.  The colors are vibrant, and the atmosphere is well polished, creating a nostalgic vibe with the best of modern technology. This seated, 360-degree experience is nothing short of a beautiful daydream.  

Taking on a job from a beautiful actress robot, Jenny Montage, your job is to get her prized jewel, the sapphire nucleus, from her husband, the crooked Senator Meric. The game is a narrative driven puzzle game, forcing you to interact with the intricate scenery and thinof how everything works together. Slowly, you begin to piece together the true story of the secrets that surround the attractive, if not immoral city of Retropolis. Why is the city rampant with homeless robots? Why is Senator Meric trying to scrap those homeless robots for parts? Who is really calling the shots in this corrupt political system the city has found itself stuck with? 

a waiter looking robot asking you a questioon through 1st person VR peerspective

Source: Press Kit

It’s the epitome of nostalgia and beauty, everything in the game was hand painted and animated by the team at Peanut ButtonUsing VR and third party assets through Quill, the team made a way to develop their assets in Unity. Completely pieced together by a group of three, with help and support from friends for music, voice acting and sound mix, this point and click adventure is captivating in a way I truly didn’t expect when I bought it. Every part of the game, including smoke from cigars, the sound of drinking, and even reflections in mirrors, was completely taken care of to a point where you knew an attention to detail was a high priority. 

The script and voice acting is moving and fantastic, the emotions portrayed in a way that make you feel like you were dropped in the middle of your own detective drama. The ability to choose between dialogue options was a surprising and welcome touch, allowing you to follow a more positive or negative path if you so choose. The game is dotted with impeccable dry humor and well-timed quips that keep you well entertained in the story without any of the characters suffering a lack of depth for it. 

The very last dialogue option you are given, however, was the only one I had noticed that could make your entire playthrough ‘good’ or ‘evil’.  Not that it is a bad thing, though it does effect the impact of your choices throughout the game.  

Music sets the atmosphere phenomenally without ever overpowering the scene. Creating unique energy for the scenes that you play through, including the story scenes where you are just watching the moment play out. It would be stupid to ignore a particularly well done scene in the second part of the game where our own Jenny Montage has a song in order to distract attention from you where she sings ‘Don’t you look away, and don’t you look away…it’s just you and me and me and you’ with a nice jazz band striking a chord in the background.  

Long spring like robot arms reach out to a brown open suitcase in a cluttered office

Source: Press kit

I only had one issue with this game and even then, it is small. This game was too short. I wanted to see so much more by the time the end credits rolled that I was pleasantly surprised when there was an after-credit scene, leading me to hope that Peanut Button gives us a second game! The background they laid out for this game was so well done that I truly hope to see more content in the future.  

Not only is this game thoroughly enjoyable, the team of three originally kick started this game with zero budget and in a converted bomb shelter with free to use software. When the bombings started back up in their home town, they had to reconvert their new headquarters back into a public shelter causing conflict to set the team into unease. Thinking on how a game like this can come from a point of major conflict and instability is inspiring to say the absolute least.  

When it comes to amazing artistry, well thought set design, and amazing story telling it is hard to find a smaller development company that can stick the landing with all three, but I am here to tell you that Peanut Button has the talent, the drive, and the vision to make sure that all of those are met. They’ve gained a loyal customer and follower in me, and I cannot suggest this game enough, and I’m giving it an 82. 

 

Price: $12.99

Developer: Peanut Button

Publisher: Peanut Button

Platforms: VR via: Occulus, Rift, Steam

 

Score

Caitlin

Caitlin Rutz

Video Team

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