REVIEW OF THE ROOM
True confession time: I love puzzles. All kinds. Crosswords, sudoku, anacrostics, tangrams, mazes, jigsaw, Rubik's cube, and on and on and on. You get the picture, I'm sure. So there are more puzzle games on my iPad than I care to admit. I heard about The Room on a local talk show about gaming (ingamechat.net, on Twitter @ingame chat, but all ways to stalk them can be found at the first link). When I heard "puzzle", I immediately perked up and, of course, downloaded it. Oh. My. What a beautiful and amazing game this is, and the puzzles are tremendous fun.
The Room is a series of boxes to be opened - a safe, a pyramid box, an octagonal box, for example - and the overall game play was a little like those wonderful matryoshka dolls in which another smaller doll nests within the larger and so on. Each box is a challenge to decipher what mechanisms need to be engaged or steps to be taken to open a series of locks. Once one box is completely unlocked, there is another smaller one inside to be unlocked. While there are only four chapters and an epilogue, there are plenty of puzzles within each box. It's never just a matter of flipping a switch or setting a gear into motion or searching for a code to open a drawer. It's ALL of those things put together into an intriguing series of actions within each chapter.
There is a sense of foreboding and a wickedly creepy atmosphere in all the chapters, a feeling that things are slightly off kilter throughout, but the scary whispers in Chapter 3 really created a sense of urgency (at least for me) to get through these challenges as quickly as possible. I have to admit the whispers in Chapter 3 really, well, creeped me out for want of a better word. The design and graphics are simply beautiful, however, and I loved the three-dimensional aspects of the entire game.
The other thing I loved is how gameplay was so dynamic. You can rotate the boxes to see all sides and in all directions. There are keys that fold in different ways to fit inside odd locks, and switches that cause something to open, close, or change positions on a different aspect of the boxes, not to mention secret drawers, hidden gems, and an eyepiece that reveals hints and clues about the boxes. Zoom out and you'll get the full impact of how beautiful each chapter is. Zoom in and you get details and close-ups of hidden panels, buttons to push, and mysterious clockwork mechanisms. There are just layers and layers within each puzzle and it pulled me right in.
If there's a downside to The Room it may be in the story line which is tied to a discovery of an element known as Null. While hidden notes throughout the chapters reveal more about Null and were fun to look for and find, that aspect of the story never really connected with me. It felt incomplete. But, it could have been that I was just more in to unlocking puzzles than following the story.
Enter The Room for hours of puzzle solving fun. It's a beautifully designed game that offers something different for puzzle lovers like myself. Of course, I went searching for more games like this and discovered . . The Room Two.
DEVELOPER: Fireproof Games
Requires iOS 5.0 or later
9+ for Infrequent Mild Horror/Fear themes
$.99 on App Store