Rendezvous begins in the year 2061 at the Northern Sea Wall in Northern Surabaya. We are introduced to Arum — who is the protagonist — Setyo’s sister. She tells us how their parents had died a few years ago, and their “family” only consists of the two of them; they each went their own ways and grew apart. The question of if he cared, wouldn’t he reach out to her is asked. We then see Setyo with two other men named Hayden and Jack; with them is a man who is blindfolded and bound. They are pressuring Setyo to kill this man, but he will not take a life without a good reason. We then hear a gunshot and Setyo wakes up from his dream; the reality is that Arum has gone missing and it's up to you to track h down and find out what happened.
Rendezvous is an action-adventure game developed by Pendopo Creations; the game is set in a futuristic cyberpunk world, with neon-lit streets and upbeat electronic music. The game's beautiful 2.5D pixelated style looks great thanks to impressive lighting effects and intriguing environments. As soon as I started playing, I was reminded of another game with a similar retro look and a futuristic setting called Lacuna. However, the thing that sets it apart from other titles like this is that the game is influenced by Indonesian culture, instead of the Japanese or Chinese we have seen in the past. This injection of art and culture that we may not be as accustomed to, makes Rendezvous unique in its own right.
The year is 2064, we are in Bay City, three years after Setyo’s dream sequence. Most of the time, you will be walking around and speaking with people while you unearth some clues and try to retrace Arum’s steps with help from your agent friend, Jack. The further you go and the more you learn, it becomes obvious that something sinister is lurking behind this society as a whole. The story in Rendezvous is entertaining, though pretty predictable if you have played games like this in the past or watched movies featuring someone looking for a missing person. Unfortunately, the voice acting is just not that good; in parts where you should be feeling tension and suspense, the voices just sound silly and comedic.
Setyo will get to do more than just walk around, collect items, and speak with people, though. Rendezvous also has action sequences that require you to fight. It won’t take you long to realise how bad the combat system is. The controls that you use to move, fight, and dodge are incredibly unresponsive. Even though Setyo has a variety of weapons at his disposal, along with the ability to roll and crouch, these aren’t very useful when your enemy has no issues hitting you while you wait on laggy controls. I think the developer should have just avoided putting these fights in the game; all it adds is frustration. Especially, since every time Setyo died, it felt tedious and unfair.
While looking for your sister, you will travel between Neo-Surabaya and Bay City, requiring you to interact with the residents there to progress the story. Besides exploring and fighting in some unfair fights, you will have to solve puzzles. Most of the time these puzzles will be used to unlock the doors of the buildings that you are spying on. Some of these cyphers felt quite simple, like hitting the A button in time with your heartbeat, while others were incredibly hard to figure out. There wasn’t a huge variety of these, so once you figured out how one worked, you had a good idea of what to do next time a similar one would pop up.
Besides unlocking doors, Setyo has to be stealthy, sneaking and manoeuvring past patrols and security bots to find more clues and information about his sister. You can also try using the roll ability, but like the combat system, this feels pretty unresponsive, so you have to keep that in mind when you are trying to get past someone undetected. There are many times when you will be going between the same few rooms multiple times to make the story progress forward. Rendezvous is quite a short game, but constantly doing the same few things felt quite repetitive after a while.
Rendezvous is an alright title if you can put up with some repetition and a frustrating combat system. The story is quite predictable, but seeing the elements that are included in Indonesian culture was really interesting, along with its stunning 2.5D retro-look, which were the highlights of the game for me. If you are a fan of adventure titles with lots of exploration and puzzles to solve, this game may be of interest to you, especially if you are curious about the unique cultural touches of Indonesia.
Rendezvous (Reviewed on Windows)
The game is average, with an even mix of positives and negatives.
Rendezvous is a great-looking retro-inspired title full of Indonesian culture, which is hindered by its frustrating combat system, repetitive gameplay, and bad voice acting in a predictable story. The game is quite short, so if you are frustrated, it won’t last for too long.