Retreat to Enen Articles RSS Feed | Retreat to Enen RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Retreat to Enen Review: Paradise Lost Thu, 04 Aug 2022 12:44:38 -0400 Jonathan Moore

The effects of human-caused and human-exacerbated climate change are now impossible to ignore. Radical changes beyond natural fluctuations have begun to wreak havoc across the globe, putting humanity's future at grave risk. Even with dutiful, proactive effort, the best outlook may be avoiding the worst possible outcome: a global ecosystem brought to or beyond the brink of extinction.

Potentially, we're already on the trajectory portrayed in the opening moments of Head West's Retreat to Enen, which explores a timeline where humanity's overconsumption and lack of prescience doomed society to an ignominious collapse. But this isn't your typical post-cataclysm shrouded in the dense cloak of war and famine (though that happened long ago). The world has seemingly bounced back, with the vestiges of humankind learning from its mistakes, focused on rediscovering the necessary symbiosis between it and nature.

With such a goal, some introspection is undoubtedly needed, leading to a pivotal mindset shift one that rejects untenable consumption and embraces mindful sustainability. One avenue is self-reflective meditation, a core pillar in Retreat to Enen's gameplay loop, which at regular intervals charges you to pause and consider the world around you. It's a unique mechanic not found in any other survival game, allowing Enen to accent the typical beats of the genre while calling attention to how we interact with our natural world and the digital ones we frequent. 

The issue is that outside of those bounds, Retreat to Enen struggles to be a mechanically compelling experience, stirring up unnecessary frustrations that act in direct opposition to its contemplative core. 

Retreat to Enen Review: Paradise Lost

Set more than 2,500 years in the future, Retreat to Enen portrays an Earth well on the path to healing. Humans have learned to live in lockstep with the world, theoretically taking only what they must to endure while becoming custodians instead of parasites. To prove yourself as one of these caretakers, you're tasked with venturing into the wilds to survive and reflect upon your purpose before bringing your knowledge back to share with future generations. 

An obviously Biblical play on words, the land of Enen is one of striking landscapes spread across three distinct biomes: the sand-strewn subtropical island of Enen itself; the dense, sylvan acreage of The Valley of the Giants; and the snow-swept crags of the frigid Great North. While these places may be visually lush, they're oddly devoid of life on the scale expected from the lite narrative setup, adding an inescapable weight of emptiness to Retreat to Enen

The odd turkey gobbles as it runs through the brush or snow, a lone deer meanders through the trees and undergrowth, a solitary fish swims in the waves above undulating kelp forests and poisonous anemones. Not filling the world with creatures is perhaps an attempt to build a firm sense of place through the most environmental of environmental storytelling. Maybe the Earth isn't as far along the path of healing as suspected. But there's a palpable disconnect between the life these environments could reasonably support at this point in Earth's rejuvenation and what they actually do support.

To kill and harvest these animals is a chore, too, and in ways, further decouples the idea of survival from the ideal of custodianship that battle at the game's core. To conceivably dissuade you from hunting entirely, rabbits and boars are master escape artists, with some capable of disappearing through the trees as soon as you see them, not when they see you; deer and iguanas are likewise highly attuned to your presence at every turn. Wolves, bears, and snakes will attack you without provocation, though they are strangely less aware of your existence despite being apex predators and often get stuck on the environment. 

Hunting, in short, is a laborious process that can be literally hit or miss  the spear animation makes thrusts wobbly and inaccurate, and the lack of any hit indicators, visual or auditory, for arrows makes ranged attacks hollow and hard to trace. Traps and nets are utterly useless, incapable of catching anything no matter how long they're left out or where they're placed (at least over 12 hours of play, in my experience). 

What makes things more existentially complicated is that some animals provide only meat while others provide only pelts, and in a game with deeply rooted themes of sustainability, the more realistic and better option would have been that each animal drops multiple materials when brought down if a hunting system must be included. At the very least, every part of the animal should be used in some crafting component as a sign of respect that aligns with the game's motifs. When you can't chop down trees or dig holes, but you can kill an animal and leave most of it behind, there's contradiction between the message and mechanics. 

Alongside hunting, there's gathering, of which you'll do a great deal in Retreat to Enen. You'll pick up all kinds of materials from the ground, ranging from sticks, rocks, and clay blocks to potatoes, mushrooms, and medicinal herbs. Mining is also an option, but not in the traditional survival-game sense. Instead of existing as veins running through the ground or across escarpments, ores and gems are attached to rocks and cliffs in clusters, which you'll break apart with your futuristic Quantum Control ability, the same one used for harvesting animals.

These mats are, of course, used to craft items, build structures, cook meals, and brew medicinal tonics, all subs-systems that sound more in-depth and less tedious than they actually are.

The in-game UIs are painfully opaque and difficult to read, with far too transparent backgrounds and text far too small. While there are options to add or remove predators or to nix the HUD altogether, there aren't any options to increase menu transparency or text size, two things that would be nice quality of life additions for everyone, not just those with impaired eyesight.

Building outlines jitter and flip around wildly as you try to place them, making it difficult to construct even single structures, let alone expansive, intricately designed camps, as shown in several pre-release marketing materials. Most components used to build houses and other more intricate items are locked until the end of the second biome, well after the entire process of meticulously gathering materials or doing most anything else has likely slipped into tedium. 

Cooking gives you access to a wide variety of dishes, though there's no way to cook single items like meat on the campfire, a strange deviation from the typical survival formula. Frustratingly, none of the meals can be added to your inventory after they've been made either. It's an odd choice to rely on fruits, vegetables, and smoked meats while away from your campfire cooking pot when you can brew and subsequently carry antiseptic and anti-venom with you anywhere, healing parasite infections or snake bites while exploring. 

But exploration, too, is fraught with frustration. There is no map or compass in Retreat to Enen, forcing you to flex your navigational and memorization skills to the extreme. The absence of these foundational wayfinding tools makes little sense considering the technologically advanced features of your suit, which can manifest buildings from holograms or disappear animal carcasses in a film of blue light. 

To be fair, it's possible to place navigational flags leading to and from points of interest, but crafting them requires a flower found only in the first biome. You'll spend a copious amount of time searching for them or growing them in planters (Retreat to Enen's barebones farming system that barely counts as a farming system) that it's more time efficient to make note of landmarks and move forward to the next objective. 

Indeed as a way to remind us our actions have consequences, Spirit plays a pivotal role in Retreat to Enen. Managed alongside your hunger, thirst, health, and temperature meters, Spirit dwindles over time and when performing actions tied to Quantum Control, such as mining and harvesting animals. It's a neat concept in theory and one of the elements that ties directly into the grander principles running through Retreat to Enen. But it's easily subverted (at release) by quickly switching Quantum Control on, initiating an action, and switching it off. If you let that realization influence you, there's very little weight to it. 

As Spirit dwindles, you must seek out meditation points across each of the biomes to replenish it. In these cerulean geodesic domes, you'll take a breath to relax and contemplate the world around you, following on-screen prompts to inhale and exhale, providing real-life calming benefits not often found in video games. To take things further, each biome has three well-hidden Arcadian ruins that must be discovered to unlock more crafting and building recipes and to reach subsequent biomes to finish the game. 

They're also where you'll find gold meditation domes with guided mindfulness exercises led by a gentle, balmy voice. These lessons are similar to those found in mental wellness apps like Calm and Headspace, grounding you both in-game and in real life. Using a good set of headphones and closing your eyes, the serene sounds of Enen's biomes tangibly lower anxiety and stress, helping you walk away refreshed, grounded, and aware of your effects on the world around you. 

It's too bad, then, that these gold domes disappear once they've been used, only accessible through subsequent playthroughs, and that the monotony of doing essentially everything else wipes that calmness away. 

Retreat to Enen Review The Bottom Line


  • Majestic, varied landscapes.
  • Effective meditation exercises.
  • Thought-provoking. 


  • Tedious gameplay loop. 
  • Unbalanced systems and mechanics. 
  • Frustrating lack of navigational tools. 
  • Contradictory themes and messaging.
  • No way to revisit meditation exercises.
  • Little replay value. 

Retreat to Enen says a lot about our role on this planet. We are caretakers that should do what we can to preserve our only home in this vast, near-limitless universe, lest we doom ourselves entirely. It's our duty to find sustainable ways to coexist with the ecosystems around us, passing that knowledge to future generations so that they might learn from our mistakes. In that way, Enen represents not a physical or digital space but moreso a spiritual one within us.

That's a big message to tackle in such a small package  and Retreat to Enen is an admirable attempt at doing that. It reminds us to be patient, take a breath, and calm ourselves, think clearly, and make more meaningful decisions about our environment. But with apps like Calm already providing easily-accessible spaces for meditation and reflection, a central message that's unfortunately muddled by contradictory and subjective views on sustainability, and lackluster survival mechanics and systems that get in the way, it's hard to recommend a retreat to Enen. 

[Note: Freedom Games provided the copy of Retreat to Enen used for this review.]

Retreat to Enen: How to Get Cured Pelt Mon, 01 Aug 2022 10:05:43 -0400 Jonathan Moore

Cured Pelt is used in a handful of crafting recipes in Retreat to Enen, such as the Water Flask and the all-important Snowsuit. As the name suggests, it isn't a raw resource like Gemstones, Obsidian, or Northern Lily. Instead, you'll need to harvest Pelt and, well, cure it. 

This Retreat to Enen guide will tell you everything you need to know about Cured Pelt, from which animals to hunt to which crafting station to build. 

Where to Find Pelt

Pelt can be harvested from rabbits in all three biomes and wolves in the Valley of the Giants and The Great North. Rabbits seem to always drop one Pelt, while Wolves can drop between four and six Pelts.

It's easiest to hunt both animals with the bow and arrow; the rabbit trap is far too inefficient to be worth your time, and the spear requires you to get too close to wolves for comfort. But to maximize your effort, hunt Wolves in the Valley of the Giants

Once you've killed one of those animals, activate your Quantum Control, and harvest them to get the Pelts. 

How to Make Cured Pelt

To make Cured Pelt, you'll need to construct the Pelt Drying Rack, which becomes available at Hunting Level 2, after you've found your first set of ruins and gold meditation chamber in Enen, the beach biome. You'll need 6 Wood and 4 Dead Plant Fiber to build it. 

Once you've built the Drying Rack, simply interact with it by pressing "E" on PC or "X" on an Xbox controller and Square on a DualShock. Doing so will bring up your inventory. Select a Pelt, and it will be added to the rack automatically. 

Pelts take a relatively long time to dry and turn into Cured Pelts. You can check the progress of a Pelt by walking up to the Drying Rack, which will display its completion percentage. Do not remove Pelts before they reach 100% completion; you will have to start the process over if you do. There does not seem to be a way to add Pelts of any completion percentage back to the rack at the percentage they were removed.  

And that's that for Cured Pelts in Retreat to Enen. To see all of the items that require the material, head over to our complete crafting recipes list right here. 

Retreat to Enen: How to Craft and Equip the Snowsuit Mon, 01 Aug 2022 10:06:28 -0400 Jonathan Moore

The Snowsuit is one of the most essential items in Retreat to Enen. Though you won't need to craft it until you've reached the third and final biome, The Great North, there's no way to find the last three ruins and finish the game without it. Your core temperature will plummet as soon as you reach The Great North, and you'll freeze to death in no time at all.

Using the Snowsuit, however, can be confusing, causing unnecessary frustration in a survival experience about meditation and calm. The Retreat to Enen guide below will tell you the materials you'll need to fashion this necessary piece of clothing and how to ensure it's protecting you from the bitter cold of the final biome. 

Snowsuit Recipe

You'll be able to craft the Snowsuit after finding the sixth set of ruins and completing the second biome, Valley of the Giants. It's near the bottom of the Survival category under the Crafting umbrella.

Like all other survival crafting recipes, it requires a specific set of materials: Cured Pelt x4, Gemstone x6, Dead Plant Fiber x6, Northern Lily x 2. If you don't know how to get Cured Pelt, we've got a guide covering that here. Northern Lilies are the white flowers in the Valley of the Giants.  

How to Equip the Snowsuit

Retreat to Enen's UI and UX isn't the most intuitive in regards to the Snowsuit. When you craft the Snowsuit, it's automatically added to the bottom right cell of your radial tool wheel. Bring that menu up by pressing "R" on PC, RB on an Xbox controller, or R1 on a PlayStation controller. 

With the radial tool wheel open, ensure the human figure in the bottom right cell is darkened. You do not have the snowsuit equipped if:

  • The human figure in the radial menu cell is white.
  • Your core temperature (the yellow thermometer in the bottom right of your HUD) plummets when entering the biome.
  • Your left arm is blue instead of green when pulling up your crafting menu with TAB on PC, the View button on Xbox, or the Touchpad on PlayStation.

The Snowsuit will keep you warm in The Great North and other biomes at night, but it won't keep you from eventually freezing to death. Your temperature gauge will still deplete very slowly while wearing it. It's also worth noting that the snowsuit does not warm you up. Your temperature gauge value will not increase by simply putting it on; you must put it on and stand by a fire to increase your core temp. 

But with that, you have all the knowledge you need to make the Snowsuit and use it to find the final three ruins in Retreat to Enen. For more, check out our official guides hub for the game. 

Retreat to Enen: Where to Find Oyster Shells Mon, 01 Aug 2022 10:06:48 -0400 Jonathan Moore

Oysters are one of the more challenging crafting resources to find in Retreat to Enen. It makes sense that they would be found in the ocean waters surrounding the first biome, Enen, but it's very easy to overlook them if you don't know what to look for.

While eating the mollusks can easily give you a nasty pathogen (in-game and in real life), you'll need their shells for the Snow Pod, a handy late-game buildable, and the Headlamp, a very helpful tool for doing anything at night.

This Retreat to Enen guide will tell you everything you need to know about Oysters and Oyster Shells. 

Oyster Location in Enen

Of course, you won't find these mollusks in fresh water, so don't bother looking there. Instead, head to seas around the island of Enen, the first biome in the game. Before you do, though: craft the Tonic Bottle, and fill it with Antiseptic to eliminate any pathogens you may contract.

Swim out into the water, and scour the sand between the beach and the underwater vegetation surrounding the island. Mollusks will very rarely be inside the kelp forests themselves, so don't waste your time looking there. 

Keep an eye out for grey, oblong shells on the seabed; Oysters look a bit like rotten pieces of meat used in the Crab Pot. They will sometimes be in groups of two to three, though they'll likely be by themselves. 

It's most efficient to gather a load of Oysters before returning to land. You'll need 10 Oyster Shells for the Snow Pod, so once you have them, return to land, open your inventory, and drop them on the ground. Activate your Quantum Controller to crack them open. You can do this underwater, but it's best to wait because you'll need to eat the Oysters to gather their shells.

With that in mind, there's a good chance you'll also contract a pathogen while eating the Oysters, and since pathogens drain your health, you should eat all of the Oysters at one time before using the Antiseptic in the Tonic Bottle. There's no reason to combat falling health and oxygen meters simultaneously. Once you've eaten the meat from the shells, pick them up to add the shells to your inventory.

With 10 Oyster Shells in your possession, you're 1/4 of the way to constructing the Snow Pod, a shelter that's handy but not totally necessary for the last biome, The Great North. For more, head over to our Retreat to Enen guides hub. 

The Complete Retreat to Enen Crafting and Building Recipes List Mon, 01 Aug 2022 10:07:18 -0400 Jonathan Moore

There are dozens of items to craft and build in Retreat to Enen, the survival game built around meditation and caring for the world around us. While the list of recipes and blueprints isn't as extensive as some other games in the genre, there's still plenty to make your life in Enen's three biomes more comfortable. And that means plenty of materials to gather. 

To open your crafting menu, press TAB on PC, the View button on an Xbox controller, or the Touchpad on DualShock. Recipes and blueprints are separated into six categories across the crafting and building umbrellas. Crafting consists of survival, hunting, and luxury items, while building consists of basic building, upgrades, and modern items.

New recipes and blueprints are unlocked through a level system (1-10), which increases each time you discover a new set of ruins. There are three ruins in each of the three biomes: Enen, Valley of the Giants, and The Great North. You must find these ancient remnants to progress through Retreat to Enen, so you'll unlock all the crafting and building items automatically as you play. 

The list below is separated by category and level at which items unlock, including all the materials you'll need to construct each. If a level is skipped, there is nothing to unlock in the category at that specific level. 


Level 1

  • Basic Shelter: Rock x2, Wood x6, Dead Plant Fiber x2
  • Fire Pit: Rock x6, Wood x4
  • Raincatcher: Clay x10, Dead Plant Fiber x2
  • Cooking Pot: Wood x3, Rock x4, Clay x4, Gemstone x4
  • Water Canister: Gemstone x1, Dead Plant Fiber x2, Clay x2

Level 2

  • Flag: Wood x1, Dead Plant Fiber x2, Enen Flower x1
  • Water Flask: Gemstone x2, Rock x1, Dead Plant Fiber x2, Cured Pelt x1
  • Planter: Wood x4, Dead Plant Fiber x4, Gemstone x1
  • Tonic Bottle: Dead Plant Fiber x1, Gemstone x2
  • Hammock: Wood x8, Dead Plant Fiber x6, Cured Pelt x4
  • Smoker: Clay x10, Wood x2, Rock x6
  • Furnace: Clay x10, Rock x6, Wood x4
  • Basket: Wood x4, Dead Plant Fiber x2

Level 3

  • Headlamp: Gemstone x1, Cured Pelt x1, Oyster Shell x2

Level 6

  • Snowsuit: Cured Pelt x4, Gemstone x6, Dead Plant Fiber x6, Northern Lily x 2
  • Snow Pod: Gemstone x10, Oyster Shell x10, Cured Pelt x2, Wood x4


Level 1

  • Rabbit Trap: Rock x2, Wood x1, Fruitcore x1
  • Spear: Wood x2, Rock x1, Dead Plant Fiber x2

Level 2

  • Bow: Wood x2, Dead Plant Fiber x4, Gemstone x2
  • Arrow: Wood x1, Rock x1, Feather x1
  • Pelt Drying Rack: Wood x6, Dead Plant Fiber x4

Level 3

  • Fish Net: Dead Plant Fiber x12, Gemstone x8, Wood x4
  • Crab Pot: Wood x10, Dead Plant Fiber x4, Rotten Meat x1

Level 4

  • Poison Arrow: Wood x1, Gemstone x1, Feather x1, Venom Gland x1


Level 3

  • Solar Garden Lamp: Wood x1, Gemston x2, Obsidian x2

Level 4

  • Fireplace: Rock x12, Wood x4, Gemstone x4
  • Chimney Middle: Rock x10, Gemstone x4
  • Chimney Top: Rock x10, Gemstone x4
  • Bed: Wood x8, Gemstone x4, Dead Plant Fiber x8, Cured Pelt x6
  • Storage Container: Wood x8, Dead Plant Fiber x2, Gemstone x6

Level 5

  • Table: Wood x12, Gemstone x8, Obsidian x4, Dead Plant Fiber x2
  • Chair: Wood x6, Gemstone x2
  • Refrigerator: Wood x8, Ore x8, Gemston x10, Ice x10
  • Garden Rock 1: Rock x1
  • Garden Rock 2: Rock x1

Level 6

  • Solar Lamp: Wood x2, Gemstone x2, Obsidian x2, Northern Lily x2
  • Large Storage Container: Wood x10, Gemstone x8, Rock x4, Dead Plant Fiber x4

Level 7

  • Clay Pot: Clay x8
  • Clay Pot 2: Clay x8
  • Clay Pot 3: Clay x8
  • Sofa: Wood x8, Cured Pelt x6, Dead Plant Fiber x8, Northern Lily x6

Level 8

  • Hot Tub: Rock x20, Wood x10, Gemstone x10
  • Bedside Table: Wood x6, Gemstone x2

Level 9

  • Solar Lamp Pink: Wood x2, Gemstone x2, Obsidian x2, Enen Flower x2
  • Solar Lamp Blue: Wood x2, Gemstone x2, Obsidian x2, Teal Majesty x2
  • Lounge Chair: Wood x4, Cured Pelt x3, Dead Plant Fiber x4, Northern Lily x3

Basic Building

Level 2

  • Square Foundation: Wood x4, Dead Plant Fiber x4
  • Triangular Foundation: Wood x4, Dead Plant Fiber x4
  • Plant-crete Wall: Wood x4, Dead Plant Fiber x2, Clay x4
  • Plant-crete Doorway: Wood x4, Dead Plant Fiber x2, Clay x4
  • Plant-crete Window: Wood x4, Dead Pant Fiber x2, Clay x4
  • Plat-crete Half Wall: Wood x2, Dead Plant Fiber x2, Clay x4
  • Stone Wall: Wood x4, Rock x6
  • Stone Window: Wood x4, Rock x6
  • Stone Doorway: Wood x4, Rock x6
  • Stone Half Wall: Wood x2, Rock x4
  • Square Floor: Wood x4, Dead Plant fiber x2
  • Triangular Floor: Wood x4, Dead Plant Fiber x2
  • Basic Railing: Wood x4, Dead Plant Fiber x2
  • Entrance Stairs: Wood x4, Dead Plant Fiber x2
  • Basic Stairs: Wood x8, Dead Plant Fiber x2
  • Door: Wood x6, Dead Plant Fiber x2, Gemstone x2
  • Floor Strip: Wood x2, Dead Plant Fiber x2
  • Roof: Wood x4, Dead Plant Fiber x2
  • Roof Corner: Wood x4, Dead Plant Fiber x2


Level 4

  • Upgraded Railing: Wood x6, Gemstone x2, Dead Plant Fiber x2
  • Upgraded Stairs: Wood x6, Gemstone x4, Dead Plant Fiber x2
  • Curtains White: Cured Pelt x1, Wood x4, Northern Lily x2
  • Curtains Teal: Cured Pelt x1, Wood x4, Teal Majesty x2
  • Curtains Salmon: Cured Pelt x1, Wood x4, Northern Lily x2
  • Cloth Railing White: Cured Pelt x1, Wood x4, Nothern Lily x2
  • Cloth Railing Teal: Cured Pelt x1, Wood x4, Teal Majesty x2
  • Cloth Railing Salmon: Cured Pelt x1, Wood x4, Northern Lily x2


Level 4

  • Greenhouse: Gemstone x20, Rock x10, Wood x10, Obsidian x20

Level 6

  • Modern Doorway: Rock x2, Ore x4, Gemstone x2
  • Modern Wall: Rock x2, Ore x2, Gemstone x2
  • Modern Window: Rock x2, Ore x2, Obsidian x2
  • Modern Door: Rock x2, Ore x2, Gemstone x2

Level 7

  • Meditation Deck: Gemstone x10, Cured Pelt x6, Ore x20, Obsidian x20

Those are all the crafting recipes and building blueprints in Retreat to Enen, including the materials you'll need to make them. Now, get out there and survive.