If you read my Rezzed coverage you’ll know some of the best games there were those from Fireproof Games: Omega Agent and The Room Three, and that thanks to them, I discovered The Room One & Two.
Genre(s): Puzzle | Horror
Developer: Fireproof Games
Publisher: Fireproof Games
Release Date: The Room September 2012 | The Room Two December 2013
Played: Full playthrough, both games
Platforms: iOS & Android
Purchase At: The Room: iOS, Android, Steam
The Room and The Room Two are puzzle-centric adventure games. As your almost silent protagonist you progress through a series of rooms solving intricate puzzles and slowly piecing the story of your predecessor’s research into the Null Element, a strange and otherworldly material and power source that slowly draws people close to it mad. During the events of the first game you’re following your friend’s footsteps, opening a puzzle box that draws you ever closer to the Null. During The Room Two however, you travel to rooms used by others who discovered the element, trying to escape from the endless maze of rooms and puzzles. The Room series, as stated by the developers themselves, is light on plot and following it will depend on each player—and they expect most to ignore the story altogether.
The Room revolves around giant puzzle-boxes, one per chapter. Each of them has multiple puzzles to solve, ranging from inventory to deduction, and solving one will open the way to another or give you an important item needed to complete yet another puzzle. The game starts you off easily but soon enough drops you into the deep end and you’ll have only your wit—and the useful hint system—to help you solve the puzzles.
One of my favourite boxes is also one of the last in the game, where you have puzzles on the side that open as you find ways to generate and reflect light. They’re all wonderfully intricate and the way solving one puzzle opens up the others in a chain reaction is fantastic. I still replay this segment every so often.
This game is where you can most clearly see the Chinese Puzzle-boxes that inspired the development—as well as the Hellraiser elements that inspired the tone and atmosphere.
The Room Two expands on its predecessors offering larger rooms with multiple locations and puzzles to complete. These puzzles become increasingly complex. One of the early rooms is a pirate ship and it took me the longest to complete of all of them, but every time I pulled a puzzle off I felt like a genius…until the next one stumped me.
The controls are very simple, consisting of just swipes and taps, but everything from turning a key to pulling open a drawer controls smoothly. To use the inventory items, you can tap for a closer look (needed, as some items are themselves puzzles) or drag them to use.
You also have a special lens. You find it in The Room and in its sequel, you first need to repair it before putting it to use. The Lens shows you hidden messages and lets you see and interact through objects made from the Null element. If you see an iridescent object or surface, then it’s time to pull out the lens! Point-of-view puzzles using the lens feature heavily in both games, so you first use it to make random symbols visible, and then rotate the camera to form numbers or letters with them.
I do wish the lids on objects opened automatically or with a tap. I was playing on my mobile, with very little surface area so I always had issues with lids. This was a game developed for tablets and while you can play it on mobile phones, I wouldn’t really recommend it. You’ll often squint or tap like crazy to find small hotspots and it gets a bit uncomfortable. Dragging items to hotspots proved a challenge as well, as the aspect ratio made it so my—admittedly chubby—fingers completely covered the item, so I couldn’t see if the item was useful in a given situation or not at all. And it might be my mobile, but playing the game violently drained the battery.
Visually it’s impressive, perhaps the best-looking game I’ve ever played on mobile. They’re the type of visuals you expect from a PC game. Puzzle boxes and rooms are intricately detailed and there are tons of tiny elements that bring rooms to life, from delicate wine glasses on a table to hay and cannonballs in the pirate room. The Room Two even features a full cinematic ending that before playing I didn’t ever expect to see running on my mobile.
In terms of sound, both Room games have wonderful soundtracks. The main theme for the games has become of my favourite videogame pieces, both soothing and eerie at the same time if you can believe it. Speaking of eerie that’s the music’s direction in each room. It can be as subtle as a single tone, almost a whistle, to more intense pieces, often with dissonant cords to take you over the creepy edge into disturbing. It all plays fantastically into the madness theme and with the visuals and the sound effects—creaking boards, whispers, and even footsteps—they all make up this lovely atmosphere of fear. I sincerely recommend playing this game with full volume. If you don’t you won’t get the true experience.
With The Room Three soon to hit the Apple App Store, now is the time for you to go play these two games. They are outstanding puzzlers with an intriguing plot. If you’re like me and you love a brainteaser, then you’ll enjoy The Room and The Room Two
5/5 – Hell Yes!
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