The Room Review: The Puzzle Game that Creeps you out and Delight your Lateral Thinking side at the Same Time
What would you do if you found yourself trapped in a small room? With just four walls, the ceiling, the floor, and seemingly no way out, do you just give up?
That is the basic premise of The Room, an iPad mystery game that is equally as challenging as it is fascinating to behold. This game is a wonderful example of how captivating the “escape the room” genre of gaming can be, filled with plenty of reasons to find yourself weirded and creeped out, but at the same time, fascinated by the mysteries that reside ahead.
You find yourself in a dreary, dark room (imagine that!), with only one beautifully ornate box in it. You’ll have to decipher its many mysteries in order to unravel the larger mystery at hand. Staring at the box, you’ll swipe around the screen with your finger to rotate and pan the room around the box in order to take it all in. On top, you find an open envelope, whereupon you discover a piece of paper telling you that the answers you seek (and more) are inside the box. You also receive a small key to use when accessing your inventory, where you find an eyepiece and a riddle. Answering more riddles and more puzzles takes you further and further into the safe, revealing just a bit more each time about what is really happening, but not enough to give you the full picture.
What is the purpose behind this box? What does it protect? WHY IS IT SO HARD TO OPEN?!?! Attempting to answer all of these questions, you’ll utilize a litany of gizmos, solve intricate puzzles, decipher a number of notes, and a lot more in order to find out just what is really going on.
One of the draws for me to The Room is the tactile feel in which you play the game. You don’t have to be a math wiz, or even a riddle-solving-genius. The clues are mostly available to the human eye, by noticing certain things that might be out of place and exploring them further. The way the game responds to your gestures is also neat to experience. You draw a circle to unlock a lock with the key you’ve found. Rotating dials on the safe feels close to the real thing. Everything feels so natural. It is like you are really interacting with the box. There are also satisfying sounds to your actions, almost completely realistic ones, drawing you even further into the world the game has created.
It’s easy to find yourself lost in a game like this, with its seemingly endless supply of brain-stretching challenges and puzzles. Where the game really takes things up a notch is with the ambiance it provides to the already creepy looking atmosphere. The music is eery, enough to make you feel like something else might be in the room, but you can’t quite put your finger on it. Every bit of the graphics and animations have been painstakingly detailed and rendered to give you a clarity of picture, but not so clear as to remove the creepy look and feel one has when interacting with it.
Of course, all of these neat little add-ons would be moot if it weren’t for the smorgasbord of puzzles and riddles for you to solve. While it is difficult and challenging, there is always a way to move forward by simply utilizing the game’s built-in clue-giver to point you in the right direction. So if you ever get stuck, you don’t have to worry about staying there forever until your brain is able to comprehend what’s going on. Regardless, even if you have to use the clues that often, you’ll find that the payoff is quite rewarding, and that The Room was well worth the $1.99 you had to pay for it.
The Room is a fine game. Even Apple has taken note of it. Apple has made this game the iPad Game of the Year for 2012, for good reason too. If you like puzzle solving games, room escape games, or simply want a demonstration of what the iPad touchscreen is capable of, The Room is definitely a perfect app for you.
The Room is also available on the iPhone for free with In App Purchase options to unlock the entire game.
Our Score: 5 Out of 5 Stars