We tell you about our journey into nature in Retreat to Enen, the new survival game in Unreal Engine set in the future.
The survival genre has undergone a not insignificant decline over the last few years and the reason is to be found both in the saturation of the market and in what seems to be a phase of tiredness of the players. In a very similar way to what happens periodically with the battle royale, the development teams do not let themselves be scared and continue to propose new products based on survival. One of them is Retreat to Enena first-person survival that tries to immerse the player in pristine nature, which can offer difficult challenges even in the absence of cannibals, robots, aliens or other monstrosities. Will the developers be able to package a product that is both focused and fun at the same time? Let’s find out together.
We are in the 3600a future in which – net of the technologies at its disposal – humanity has rediscovered nature and learned to live with it, using it as a sort of ‘medicine for the spirit’.
Precisely for this reason, young people are subjected to an initiation rite before entering the world of adults: this procedure provides for a long survival in places devoid of any modernity, so as to test the abilities of the boy (or girl) and his skills in resource management.
And this is exactly how our adventure begins, with the protagonist who wakes up on a tropical island with a device that in fact replaces all those accessories. like the pickaxe or the ax for the collection of useful items. To be honest, this gimmick has no particular consequences in terms of gameplay and it seemed to us the gimmick used to avoid the creation of a whole series of animations related to the accumulation of resources.
Even with the construction we see something very similar, since it is not the protagonist who assembles parts of buildings or pieces of furniture, which instead materialize from nothing at the push of a button. Just get close to a crystal, an animal’s corpse or any other collectible item, to make it magically disappear and add it to your inventory, while consuming a small amount of energy. One of the peculiarities of Retreat to Enen lies precisely in the mechanism through which the energy restoration: as we have mentioned, the development team wanted to give ample space to spiritual component and, therefore, it will be possible to regain strength by meditating at specific places on the maps. During these moments, the protagonist will be subjected to a series of sounds made in collaboration with mental health experts who should therefore favor the player’s relaxation, also helping him to do small exercises such as those related to breathing.
Like this addition or not, it is in effect a marginal mechanic which has no relevance for gameplay purposes and, in all likelihood, players will access the meditation stations only and exclusively to recharge their spiritual energy and proceed with collecting and crafting. Except for these moments, Retreat to Enen’s gameplay is pretty basic and indeed it takes a few steps back from other experiences of the same kind. Since there is no possibility of destroying trees or extracting stone from rocks, everything translates into long walks in nature with the aim of collecting twigs and other resources that can be used in the construction of increasingly useful objects.
The progression of Retreat to Enen is marked by the achievement of three ancient ruins positioned within each of the three mapscharacterized by different biomes and devoid of any procedural element. In exploring them, needless to say, we will expand the range of craftable objects and we will thus be able to start creating small buildings, animal traps and weapons to fight the most dangerous predators, which, however, only arrive after a few hours of play.
One of the main defects of the production is the almost total absence of that feeling of danger that often and willingly characterizes this type of experience. We do not hide from you that the most ‘risky’ activity in which we ventured in the first biome, which proved to be the least inspired of all, is the elimination of a turkey with a bow and arrow.
Leaving aside the lack of a sense of adventure and risks that could compromise the game, the project signed by Head West also shows its side to a series of deficiencies from the point of view of gameplay, such as the bad functioning of a bow that disappoints both for animations and for the sensations it transmits during its use. We are talking about a game that is not perfect even for those interested in simple virtual journeys in nature, since thehunger and thirst indicator it must be constantly monitored and any health problems must be resolved before the situation escalates.
About the death screen, the developers have decided not to implement animations or sounds when our avatar takes its last breath and, regardless of what the cause of the demise is, the screen will go dark until it is completely black, and then show the classic image of the game over. If the absence of procedural maps already severely affects the replayability of Retreat to Enen, we cannot fail to consider theinability to play cooperatively a further element against this survival. The multiplayer component would have made the gaming experience more enjoyable without necessarily affecting the ‘spirituality’ of the production, also justifying any efforts dedicated to the construction of more complex buildings.
An above average optimization
L’visual impact Retreat to Enen is enjoyable, with the development team making good use of theUnreal Engine to recreate environments that are more than credible even if not entirely free of imperfections.
By and large the glance is really pleasant for details of the models and lighting but it is enough to analyze the individual elements that make up the scenarios to notice rocks with angular shapes, foliage in low resolution and in 2D, which clashes with the surrounding environment, and other small defects that clash with the idea of propose a graphically realistic product. What surprised us was instead theoptimizationremarkable for a production of this type: playing with all settings to the maximum, the Ray Tracing active and without using the DLSS, Nvidia technology supported by Retreat to Enen, the experience is smooth and free of uncertainty. What really disappoints are the animations of the protagonist and those of the fauna, approximate and not very credible: we do not hide the fact that we happened to be attacked by a wolf without realizing it.
The beast in question brought its head close to our body in a rigid position and to understand what its intentions were we had to let our eye fall on the health indicator. To have convinced us little due to the lack of personality is also the design the suit of the protagonist and all those elements that do not strictly concern the flora, such as the structures built by the player.