RE:CALL review | What if I told you that you could go back into the past and change the outcome of the future? What if then, the changes you made were not right, and you needed to go back again and redo them? Well, now you can! RE:CALL is essentially an RPG adventure game that allows you to change events of the past via your memories. This immediately affects the present world and how you play out the story, but be warned! There is only one way to ensure you change the present for the good, as making the wrong choices in the past can lead to catastrophic events unfolding.
|Developer||maitan69 & Matias Schmied|
ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox Series X | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion of the writer. Got unanswered questions about this game? Get in touch on Twitter!
What we Liked!
- The Core Loop Mechanic | Being able to drop in and out of the present and return to the past to change the future is mind-boggling at first. You get used to it pretty quickly, and when you realise how to use it effectively, it hits you just how interesting the mechanic is. During each story segment, there will be a story to unravel. For example, in chapter 2, you are being interrogated by the police about the death of a friend’s family member. During this time, you can alter history by changing your statement to the police based on the evidence you collect in the past making your story match what the detective wants to hear. It’s really clever and you can tell that a lot of effort went into making this work.
- The Art Style | Top-down sprite games are pretty rare these days. We don’t even see it on the handheld Pokemon games. What we have here is essentially a throwback to old handheld-style RPG games. It works well with the game’s theme and setting. Being an RPG it firmly grabs its inspiration from games like Pokemon, and old-style NES and SNES games. This is one of the more appealing aspects to me personally since I grew up in those days. All of the items in the game still maintain a lot of detail though. There are shadows, shading, and items that decorate the rooms. It all looks very detailed for the minimalistic approach. The texture atlas used in the game has been used to great effect here.
- The Audio | The audio in RE:CALL is great. It contains chip-tune music from the appropriate era it is trying to replicate. The tunes are upbeat and deliver a good sense of conveying the tone at that moment. Switching between past and present also changes the music to let the player know that they are now in another time. Item collection, scripted events, and dialogue bubbles all have appropriate sounds to help make the world feel alive.
- Multiple Choice Scenarios | Despite there being only one real outcome in each scenario to progress, the game does do a good job at making you believe there are multiple routes. Sometimes this is done by dragging out scenarios in order to get more information on what you did wrong, collecting more evidence to aid you in the correct choice, and finally, just having you die with one of the many scenario endings. It’s a really nice touch and it shows you the ramifications of your choices pretty well.
- The Difficulty | RE:CALL did a great job at making me feel dumb! It’s okay though, I can forgive it for that. Ultimately though the game relies heavily on trial and error, and a lot of switching back and forth. Eventually, you will muscle through each chapter with what feels like brute force, and it is in those chapters that the game loses some of its charm. Some of the scripted scenarios didn’t make too much sense and I found myself getting frustrated and what would be simple puzzle solutions to puzzles, but instead, they opted for a somewhat “out there” solution. I think in hindsight, adding a difficulty option would have been ideal.
- The Story | The story is made up of several chapters all focusing on somebody called “The Toymaker”. The Toymaker is considered a terrorist of sorts who has a secret facility with guards, weapons, and an agenda. However, it is within this story that it then gets a little messy and construed when you later find out that there is a bigger threat to the characters of the game. It quickly becomes a tangled mess of who is who and what is the friendship dynamic between everyone without all of the plot holes being fully developed. Without spoiling anything or giving too much away, the ending falls a little flat and by the end, you feel a little deflated by it all, especially considering how good the main mechanic of the game is., It almost feels like a waste to use it on something such as this.
What we Disliked
- Lots of Dialogue | Despite overall loving what RE:CALL is doing in terms of gameplay-wise, the mediocre story combined with a lot of dialogue does tend to draw you out of the game a fair bit. When the puzzle elements are being utilised, the game is fine, but there is too much dialogue between each section. I would have much preferred smaller story segments and more environmental storytelling about how your actions change things, instead of having to read about those changes.
How long to beat the story | 5-6 hours
How long to achieve 1000G | 5-8 hours
You’ll love this game if you like these | Newt One, Evan’s Remains, and Onsen Master
RE:CALL is an entertaining game in many aspects. I went into this game knowing nothing about how it plays or the story that is tied to it. After finishing the game, I was taken aback by just how unique the premise is and the past/present changing mechanic. It is quite rare these days to find something that is different from most of the games on the market. That being said, if you enjoy RPG games with some heavy story-telling and decent mechanics, RE:CALL will have you enjoying yourself from the start to the finish.
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Gaming is in my blood. Be it handheld games, Xbox, PC, Switch or Playstation, I am all over it.
I make my own games as part of my profession and love playing co op games with friends in my spare time. Avid dog lover and camper van enthusiast.