Retention (PC) Review

By Athanasios 20.01.2015

Review for Retention on PC

Without a single doubt, the most innovative and strange ideas will always pop from the minds of independent creators. The newest entry into this eccentric family is Retention, which offers a strange trip into a protagonist's subconscious. The one and only purpose here is the reconstruction of this person's memory, a deed that will be done with the aid of a photo book-like interface. Interesting as this might seem, a game isn't a game… if it isn't a game, and unfortunately this is nothing more than an artsy experiment, almost devoid of any interactivity or fun.

Videogames, just like any other form of entertainment, are most of the time quite unoriginal. The reason is a fairly simple one; originality is a risk that the "big players" can't afford to take, and, therefore, succumb to the safety of the old, tried-and-tested - and widely accepted - money-making formulae. Fortunately, indie developers don't have a lot to lose and, thus, tend to get a bit more experimental than usual. The results, however, are quite often disappointing.

Evgeniy Kolpakov and Alina Ovchinkova have turned their passion of photography into a videogame, gathering lots of interesting pictures from their vast collection to create it. These will be used in order to help a faceless, nameless protagonist recover from a bicycle accident and regain his / her scrambled memory back. It sounds exciting and challenging, yet it is neither. Why is that? Simply put, because Retention is hardly a game - and that's putting it mildly.

The whole deal begins with a single image, portraying the outcome of the aforementioned accident from the victim's viewpoint, whom is now knocked out and laying on the ground. That very moment is marked by a single, numbered film frame on top of the screen, with all previous frames representing past memories. The catch, though, is that instead of one, the player gets three photos to choose from, with only one of them being the "correct" one.

Screenshot for Retention on PC

The first - and worst - flaw is the total lack of challenge. Nothing can be done in order to figure out what image is the correct one. There are no hidden clues, hints or meanings in these photographs, therefore, it's just a matter of picking up the one that feels right and just hope for the best. It's just like those boring personality tests: tick some boxes, check the results and turn the page to learn about new diets.

If a single frame is left out and time's up, the hero dies, yet since no real challenge is involved, that won't be a problem. What is a problem, though, is the ending screen, which is the second and final flaw. Divided between three categories, the finale shows whether the chosen memories were colourful or not, whether friendship was the central theme, and finally if those chosen were the "true" memories, yet apart from the first two, which are somewhat obvious, it can't be said which are the "real" memories.

In conclusion; apart from those interested in looking at a bunch of pretty photos, there's nothing of any value here. There is nothing deep or philosophical, it doesn't require any skills or thinking, and, most importantly, gameplay is nowhere to be found! Saying that Retention is just a boring pseudo-intellectual game would be a compliment, because in reality it is just a slideshow that is slightly more interactive than usual.

Screenshot for Retention on PC

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 2 out of 10

Very Bad

Trying out a psychology test in a magazine or doing one online is not a game. Browsing through pictures on a photo album - even if it is a nice collection - is not a game. Retention is those two things sewn together. The audio-visuals are perfect for what the developer had in mind, but the result will only appeal to photography enthusiasts, not gamers; and for those tempted by the extremely low price, Cubed3's recommendation is: save the money, add a couple of more measly pounds, and buy something far better.


Sometimes You


Sometimes You





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  2/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   


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