The Spectrum Retreat — an unexpected guest. Review


Genre Adventure
Publisher Ripstone
Developer Dan Smith Studio
Minimum requirements Intel Core i3-3250 3.5 GHz/AMD FX-6300 3.5 GHz, 4 GB RAM, graphics card with support for DirectX 11 and 2GB of memory, e.g. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti/AMD Radeon RX 550, 8 GB hard disk, Internet connection and a Steam account
Recommended requirements Intel Core i5-4670K 3.4 GHz/AMD FX-8350 4.0 GHz, 8 GB RAM, video card with support for DirectX 11 and 4 GB memory NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060/AMD Radeon RX 570
Release date 13 Jul 2018
Age limit 12 years
Platform PC, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch

The game is tested on PS4

To say that The Spectrum Retreat created a small force — so slightly exaggerated. Dan Smith Studios is a one-man Studio named after himself. In 2016 he won the BAFTA award for best young game designer with a demo of The Spectrum, which has evolved over two years into a full game. She draws inspiration from Portal and her followers like Q. U. B. E. and Antichamber. But in any case, it is not rolled into a simple copy.

Our protagonist wakes up in a bright and tidy room, comfortable hotel “Penrose”. A knock at the door. Robot Concierge kindly invites to a morning meal. Why the whole staff is speaking dummies who do not even move in the entire property and there is not a single living soul? I guess due to lack of resources during development. But Dan Smith uses these constraints to tighten an interesting story of intrigue.

The Spectrum Retreat is not a joke lures. Hotel in the art Deco style is charming, but at the same time causes anxiety. And, of course, all is not what it seems. That confirms the mysterious girl by the name of Cooper, who will contact you by phone futuristic. It suggests that you are being held against will, and offers assistance in organizing the escape. But the method is rather strange — you will need to go through a few dozen rooms to tests which are logically nothing to do with what is happening.

This is perhaps one of the biggest problems of the game — part of the story and the core gameplay is interleaved, but not overlapped. A study of the hotel turns into a rendition of “Groundhog Day”. After another series of rooms with riddles, you return to the room, go to bed and again start the cycle of code search to the next door, behind which you will find directly the gameplay. But the adventures on the “Penrose” — not that other, as a normal SIM walk.

Received a portion of the story — went to solve the puzzles. They are in The Spectrum Retreat very entertaining. The main idea is based on the manipulation of flowers. The device through which you are contacted by Cooper is able to “hold” a color that allows passing through energy barriers of the same color. The output of the test is covered by a sequence of these luminous walls. Your goal is to redistribute the colors are at the level of the cubes in such a way that it is possible to obtain the desired shade to pass each successive barrier.

Sounds a little tricky, but the rules are intuitive, and the test is built in such a way that the difficulty increases gradually. The first several rooms will show the basic principles, then begin a puzzle. Although even the most difficult puzzles you will hardly get stuck. They are not simple but is built so that it can be a process of trial and error to achieve the desired result — even if the author’s intent eluded understanding. But, of course, much nicer to crack the idea and make the right plan of action. Accidental manipulation of colors and can do to make the passage of the puzzles are impossible, and then it will have to be restarted.

Over time, the basic mechanics added additional nuances. Capturing device the desired color, you can not only pass through the barriers but also teleport to certain points level. But changing the gravity vector will check how well you are able to navigate in space.

Sometimes in the usually austere rooms, lined with the same type of plates, there are “glitches”, showing pieces from the past. To fold the puzzle scene, be sure to listen in flashbacks and study notes. The history of The Spectrum Retreat is worth it to learn and understand it entirely. It is not as complicated as we would like, but well-built, does not suffer from white spots and syndrome “finish thinking”. The author answers all the questions and surprised by a good plot twist for the finale.

All in all about enough for four hours. Maybe more if you are experienced in similar puzzles. It definitely ends before risking to annoy — perhaps even too early. Apparently, more levels are not enough resources, because the gameplay mechanics definitely still have stock. Anyway, after the credits left with the impression may not be perfect, but whole works. And I can’t believe that in this game such short titles! The Spectrum Retreat boasts good music, and excellent voice acting of the characters (albeit it little), and a nice design.

Summer — the dry time for the gaming industry. Therefore, The Spectrum Retreat came at a good time. At any other time of the year it would be lost among the larger projects but now is on the horizon, yet blockbusters and just more hyped games, you have a great opportunity to move into a “Penrose” for a couple of evenings. Do not miss it.


  • on simple, it would seem that the mechanics lined up interesting puzzles;
  • solid and well-told story;
  • great voice.


  • the gameplay and story take place in isolation from each other;
  • the ending comes too early… maybe the mechanics could be squeezed out even more.