Reperfection got our attention some time ago due to its interesting proposal: to step into the shoes of a family man (Ben Freeman) who loses his wife in a car accident and gets a second chance to avoid it. This approach, coupled with a staging that matched comic style with noir themes, provided the game with a charm that forced us to play it. Now, here is our verdict.
The game (and first work) of German studios Tinnitus Games has a very good start. It allows us to calmly plunge in the run-up to the death of the main character’s wife, giving us time to get to know her and her family. And then we suddenly lose everything, just as Ben does. Here begins the journey of Reperfection, which will give us two hours of playing time in its first volume. We must remember that the game is episodic, after the style of The Walking Dead or Cognition, so once it’s completed we will have to wait to see what will happen next. In spite of it, this first episode is self-contained though anticipating the events to come.
Plot and format fit like a hand in glove; the player doesn’t get fed up so he keeps getting more and more interested. And what’s so special about the narrative? Basically, you can go back in time any time you want and try to avoid the death of your wife; and that will happen more than a few times. The only requirement to do so is looking into the eyes of the corpse and voilà, you are brought back home, just before the accident. In line with the best sci-fi tradition, you will quickly realise that the fact of going back in time isn’t that helpful and that one minor change in events may lead to still more devastating consequences. This way, Reperfection becomes an expert in abusing the player, taking away all his hopes and then tossing him from one place to another without warning that it will go wrong again…
The fact that the greatest load of the title is on the narrative doesn’t mean that gameplay has been neglected. We have before us a classic point & click adventure, with its (few) conversations and puzzles that require finding certain items to be used at the right time. Many of the puzzles are rather simple, but some of them will be a bit more difficult and one or two will make us return to the past and pay attention to what we did wrong. There are many mechanics of trial and error before getting things right, and the game is cruel in how it shows the consequences of our decisions; even though we can go back in time as if nothing had happened. In the end, going back to the past becomes for Ben a kind of ingame mechanics to save game in real life.
A terrific artistic direction is added to the care placed in building up the plot. On the one hand, Reperfection has the looks of a comic and is played as if we were reading one. There is a gravel background (a road?) and the comic episode placed over it; we open the comic and proceed to play. Every screen is a different frame and as we solve puzzles or move from one place to another, we will be able to access other vignettes. One of the most worked details is that we can change the composition of the comic whenever we change an important event, gaining access to new frames while others are deleted forever, vanished from the history.
In addition to the style, there is the staging in black and white, with a very restricted use of colour that is limited to highlight important items, and little else. The effect of time travel adds a loop to pages that, coupled with accompanying music, will confuse the player at first; that’s all the graphic display we find: good work, visual craftsmanship and an intelligent use of colour. Music helps to achieve this, with piano compositions that increase the feeling of strangeness, loss and unreality; further immersing ourselves in the story.
This is Reperfection: noir sci-fi, an essay on how dramatic is losing a dear one and how pointless is going back in time without a defined plan. Its approach is reminiscent of a heavyweight like The Twilight Zone, and its execution is able to captivate the player with simpler resources than those used by large studios. It has a very good start, with a painful and strange first episode and an outcome that adds value by staying far from happy endings. If they manage to continue along this path in the following volumes, we have a big thing here.