Rendezvous Review – Cyber vibes

Reviewed April 11, 2023 on PC




April 11, 2023




Pendopo Creations

The year is 2064. Drones patrol the streets, human bodies can be augmented with cybernetics, and corporations control everything behind the scenes. After an encounter with an old friend, a reluctant former criminal agent must set off for Neo-Surabaya in search of his sister. This is the dystopian setting of Rendezvous. There are also cool neon lights everywhere, and we finally have laser swords. Sick.

Describing itself as a “2.5D cyber-noir pixel art action-puzzle adventure game”, Rendezvous is a classic inventory-based adventure title with added stealth and combat mechanics. Exploring a futuristic Indonesian city as protagonist Setyo, you’ll be collecting items, solving puzzles, shooting robots, and hiding from baddies on a quest to uncover why your sister Arum has been working with a group of dangerous cyberrunners.

The most striking element in Rendezvous is its absolutely stunning neo-retro visual design. Developers Pendopo Creations have mastered blending old-school pixel art with modern rendering techniques, placing minimalist character sprites into gorgeously drawn environments. It’s as if the King’s Quest titles got the Octopath Traveler treatment: dynamic lighting, bloom, reflections, and incredibly smooth animations make every environment spring to life and ooze with cyber-noir charm.

Glowing billboards and cityscapes that sprawl into the distance make Neo-Surabaya feel expansive and lived-in. The level of detail is impressive, and goes a long way to build a world that feels at once familiar and foreign. Tidbits of lore are sprinkled throughout the game (an advertisement at a train station, a riot outside an office building, a passing conversation) and the snippets of Indonesian language cement the feeling that you’re exploring a dystopian Java. The soundtrack is right on point as well, with heavy synth chords providing depth and layers to this capitalist technocracy.

At its core, Rendezvous is an old-school adventure game. Setyo wanders each environment with an objective in mind, and needs to present the right items at the right time in order to achieve it. Most goals are straightforward: you’ll need a ladder to get over a fence, and a blanket to protect from the barbed wire at its peak.

Some of them take longer, and involve backtracking between NPCs and locked barriers a few times to uncover everything you need. Items don’t tend to spawn until you need them, meaning you’re discouraged from leaving the critical path to hunt for secrets. It’s a sweetly nostalgic style of gameplay, but lacks some of the more modern conveniences such as a dialogue history log.

Occasionally, you’ll need to solve a puzzle. These range from unlocking simple locks through to hacking complex machines. Unfortunately, the puzzles never quite reach that “aha!” moment of satisfaction that comes from solving a tricky brain teaser. The easier puzzles are little more than data entry, with combinations usually written on scraps of paper right next to the puzzle itself. Like the occasional simple circuit diagrams, these break up the flow of exploration a little but don’t provide any sort of challenge. I much preferred these to the more complex puzzles, however, a few of which almost ended my playthrough.

A particular scene midway through an intense chase sequence involved flipping a series of colour-coded switches in the correct order. The dialogue in Rendezvous doesn’t explain things well, which, when combined with no way to re-read previous dialogue, lead to the game effectively soft-locking me out of completing the puzzle. Even after I had reset the game and read the puzzle explanation more carefully, there was no clear solution. I eventually guessed the answer from an obscure environmental clue, but rather than feeling relieved it was more of a “seriously? that worked?” kind of vibe. Stumbling across solutions like this feels less like a challenge and more like guesswork.

Things are similarly frustrating when it comes to the game’s action sequences. Setyo has access to a few combat manoeuvres, including a basic punch, a dodge roll, a sprint, and a weapon attack (if you have one equipped). You can also hold a button to crouch, which prevents enemies from detecting you… mostly. Rendezvous is not consistent in signposting which enemies should be avoided via stealth, and which will need to be beaten in combat. Getting it wrong will end with you taking damage at best, and at worst lead to an instant “Busted!” message necessitating reloading a checkpoint. It’s also difficult to tell when stealth is working effectively: at some points you need to hide behind obstacles in order to avoid the enemy’s gaze, while at others you can crouch-walk happily into a floodlight without detection. It’s simply a matter of trial-and-error, which would be less of a nuisance if checkpoints were more generous.

When it comes to actual combat, it’s a simple affair. Apart from the opening combat tutorial you’ll rarely do anything but hammer the hit/shoot button until the baddie dies. There are a few weapons to pick up in certain chapters including a gun and a laser sword, which are admittedly awesome despite not adding much mechanically. Thankfully, you’ll collect enough health bandages and medkits throughout the game to mitigate any damage you’ll take while simply running past most enemy encounters.

While its world is detailed and intriguing, the main story in Rendezvous doesn’t give it a tonne of space to shine. The narrative sits firmly in edgy cyberpunk territory, involving corruption, corporate greed, betrayal, and violence. Everybody is guilty in some way, which makes it difficult to get attached to any of the main characters. In a linear adventure game driven by its plot, you find yourself caring more about the NPC citizens of Neo-Surabaya than the protagonists. It’s worth noting that major cutscenes have voice acting, which is a nice touch. I should also mention that there a few bugs in this build, though nothing too critical – one memorably reversed my control directions during the final action sequence, which was an interesting little challenge.

Completing Rendezvous’ roughly five-hour story unlocks a small gallery of artwork, and allows you to replay any of its chapters in case you missed a secret or achievement. While it would have been nice to explore more of Neo-Surabaya, it’s the right amount of time to spend with the game’s high-stakes narrative. The tension between traditional inventory-based adventure gameplay and combat and stealth mechanics is never really resolved. Rather than feeling like playing through a gritty action movie (which is the implied vibe) playing Rendezvous is more like grappling with a messy blend of cool ideas that don’t quite fit together. The bones of a unique, futuristic adventure are here, but they’re buried under layers of frustrating design choices.




  • Absolutely gorgeous neo-retro visual design
  • Detailed cyberpunk worldbuilding and lore


  • Combat and stealth sections are frustrating and repetitive
  • Puzzle solutions tend to be unintuitive or too simple
  • Not a very interesting narrative for an adventure game

Rendezvous is a beautiful-looking game let down by some unfortunate gameplay design decisions. It has a stunning visual aesthetic, blending retro pixel art with modern lighting and rendering effects to create a suitably atmospheric and moody cyberpunk vibe. However, it is held back by bland combat, cheap instant-fail stealth segments, and puzzles that vary between overly-simple and frustratingly unintuitive. While the city of Neo-Surabaya is vibrant and intriguing, the action-movie main plot doesn’t leave much space for exploration or immersion. There are some neat ideas in Rendezvous, but fans of adventure games will be left wanting.