Retention received award from Bytten for "Strangest Experience of the year"
Retention was the clear choice; nothing else I have ever seen shares its simple yet unusual premise. Choose images from your protagonist's past to decide on the future. The choices you make will determine his fate. This must be one of very few games I've ever played that made me think about my life outside of the game itself. Simple, unusual and emotionally powerful - this is a game that deserves recognition.
Andrew Williams and Steve Blanch // Bytten
It’s like nothing I’ve ever played before and I’m not entirely sure whether I’ve played it still, despite sinking about an hour of my time into its strange world. It’s both baffling and mesmerising, but I can’t say that I didn’t in some respect enjoy my time with it. Just leave your preconceptions at the door, along with your sense of logic, and you’ll probably be fine.
Rowan Davies // The Dead Pixel Post
Retention is the only game I have ever seen try to create an experience consisting only of photos, it does so remarkably well, and creates an interesting game out of it.
Børre 'Psitaylor' Arnøy // IndieBase
I enjoyed Retention for what it was, overall I must say that the approach taken in regards to the use of photos is quite ingenious, with a good user friendly interface, but with a lack of clear instructions and no true gameplay involved it falls short of being great. If you find photography to be an interesting subject or just like looking at great meaningful photos then I would recommend Retention, but for anyone else I don’t think you will get much out of this game.
James Attard // Indie Game Magazine
Pitched as a “Game-Photo album”, Retention is a pseudo interactive narrative, told mostly through photographs, with multiple endings. Towards the abstract end of the indie spectrum then.
If you’re in the mood for something at a more contemplative pace, with a focus on atmosphere and storytelling over raw mechanical challenge and demanding controls, then Retention might be for you.
Lewie Procter // DIYGamer
The images are invariably interesting, perhaps especially for those of us who do not live in Russia. And this is an interesting and engaging method for exploring a portfolio of photographs. Game, no; but not without merit.
There is, unfortunately, no demo, but at $4, it's not costly.
Greg Costikyan // Play This Thing
The ‘game’ is actually just kind of a ‘choose your own adventure’ book. Honestly, I did not really want to play it more than once or twice. The photos are well taken and beautiful, but it again does not feel like a game. It was also a little tough to get to look at all of the photos because there is a time limit. Although those expecting a game will be disappointed, it is a really interesting thing to play through, especially for those interested in art and photography.
Jessica Weimar // Mash Those Buttons
Retention is a stylish staging of hundreds of photos, turning the collection into a character building exercise somewhere between “Memento” and “Choose Your Own Adventure” titles. Can a man be truly defined by frozen moments of his history? Is identity really just a question of perspective?
Callabrantus // Indie Game Reviewer
Le monde de l’independant ce n’est pas seulement les Zombies, les Avatar, les plateformer, les shoot’em up classiques et autres cliches du milieu. C’est aussi des idees, folles, osees, qui couplees a un peu de genie peuvent donner de belles experiences. Retention est de celles-ci, assurement.
William Bertin // Game Side Story
After all, if you don't like art games, or you don't get them, this isn't going to be worth the $4 the author's asking. If you like this sort of thing, it's still going to be a mixed bag, because art is... well, some art grabs you, some doesn't. I personally found this quite interesting, and, in a sense, felt the confusion of a man trying to reassemble his memories (a sensation I go through once a month... thank you so very much, epilepsy), among other things. But, also in summary, $4 is really not much to pay for some introspection.
Jamie Thomas Durbin // Gameboyz
Being told, even forced, to pick out memories with a time limit of 600 heart beats until death seems trite and contrived. But sitting alone, in the dark, with my wife asleep in the next room, at least it makes you think. And that’s more to be said than a lot of other, much more expensive games on the market. If I'm not careful, I’m this person, unable to recall that one Christmas, or that time I went to the beach with friends, or the day I finished high school, and I won’t be able to distinguish memories because I won’t have any. Most of all, I'll just ignore the people who I need to be around the most.
pdstaffrd // AusGamers
In conclusion Retention is not perfect, far from it, but it is an experiment. Of course, an experiment is not completely successful but should be rewarded just for the fact of not being a platform. Oh, in the credits we find that the work is dedicated to the memory of Steve Jobs, who is ... a little 'out of nothing.
Davide Alexandro Fiandra // The Indie Shelter
Playing as Retention heavily evaluated, like any game I know and also for the entertainment for a few minutes. But while playing, you can stop a bit and conjecturing the whole story. Perhaps a pity that the author of the idea a bit more properly tightened, the whole game, for example, depending on your preferences may change and so on.
sir Jarousek // Nezavisle hry.cz
I’m not sure that I would even call Retention a game – it feels more like an artistic experience, whatever that means. Retention isn’t necessarily a game you’ll come back to a great deal (although trying to get all the different endings will probably have you replaying a fair few times). However, it is a powerful piece of work, and definitely worth checking out if you aren’t put off by a game without Explosions and Other Really Wild Things. If you have any interest in some stunning photography or an artistic redefinition of what gaming is, check Retention out.
James W // MashThePad
Are your memories happy or sad? Are you surrounded by friends, or alone? Is everything bright and colourful, or grey and monochrome? This is very powerful - the memories that we retain shape our outlook on life, and Retention's closing comments - that perhaps we should take out our photo albums and spend ten minutes looking through our own memories - are something that we should perhaps act on more often. Today we all carry a camera on us pretty much all the time - our mobile phones - and maybe we should use them a little more often. Life moves on, things change. Today's joy will not last. Capture it while you can.