It isn’t often that you find a puzzler that can keep your attention without getting repetitive or annoying. My main problem with them is just that — it’s hard to come across a game that gets you thinking while also keeping you intrigued and entertained. That’s why I jumped at the opportunity to review today’s game, The Room, as it promised a new and unique experience.
The Room is a storyline-driven puzzle game with lots of mystery. It goes for $5 dollars and it has received lots of praise, as it was picked as the App Store Editor’s Choice. Are you interested?
The Room starts off as you find a box with a mysterious letter promising you will find “all the answers you seek” inside, even though they don’t really give you any questions to begin with. The letter sends you on your way by giving you an “eyepiece” and a warning that this won’t be easy, as you are getting involved in something very big.
The same narrator left seven letters inside the box documenting his search of a “null” element, but there really isn’t much context around them. After the game’s setup, the story really loses most of its relevance and the puzzles are what grab your attention.
The Room is all based on one box that changes shapes and reveals new parts as you advance through the chapters of the game. When each chapter begins, you are shown a new “transformed” box that you have to explore in order to find switches, buttons, keyholes, keypads as well as other mysterious things that you may be able to interact with if you have the right tools and/or knowledge.
You can navigate through the sides and top of the box by simply dragging the screen, and you can bring objects into focus by double tapping on them. Once you have your focus on an interactive object, you can tap on to see more information about them and sometimes you can even interact with them, like turning a knob around or opening a lid.
You also have an inventory where the objects that you find are stored. If you think an object you own can interact with something you’ve found around you, you can drag it along and see if something happens. For example, you can drag a key into a fitting keyhole to have them interact, or put a missing part in place.
The one object that will always be in your inventory is the eyepiece. When you put it on it can help you see hidden things, like objects inside the box or clues drawn on the walls of the box. This is a vital piece that you will continuously be using, as a lot of the puzzles require you to explore around with your eyepiece to find vital information.
Each of the four chapters will have you find your way around dozens of puzzles, each connected to the next. Usually, as you begin a chapter you are meant to find a hidden object that you will then use to interact with a part of the box, which will in turn lead to a new clue, a new object or to the discovery of another part of the box to explore. As you gather new clues and objects, you can use them to find your way around the many puzzles found around the box.
While the game seemed challenging at first, once you get to know how the game is designed and how most of the puzzles work, it’s easy to get the hang of it and find your way around quickly. By the end of the game, most of the puzzles became repetitive and easy to predict. A big part of the third and fourth chapters felt like I was repeating the same tasks in a new setting, which in turn brings some sort of challenge to them but also makes them all feel too familiar.
The story, although confusing and not very revealing at all, is good enough for a puzzler. It gives the game an interesting, shady, mysterious vibe, and it does an okay job at keeping the player intrigued. The puzzles are not annoyingly complicated, but most of them do require your attention and they will get you thinking and remembering things that you’ve seen.
The graphics are gorgeous and the gameplay truly is something that brings up a unique gaming experience in your iPad. While the game ended up being a bit shorter than I expected, it does close with the promise of much more to come soon, which makes me very excited for the next release.
The Room is not a quick game that you can pick up in short five-minute bursts, but rather an intriguing and fun game that requires your attention in larger sessions and that will reward you with one of the most unique gaming experiences that you can have on the iPad. If you like your games a lot deeper than and rewarding than what’s usually found on the iPad, The Room will surely be worth the $5 bucks for you.