“Did I ever tell you what the definition of insanity is? Insanity is doing the exact… same f**king thing… over and over again expecting… s**t to change.” – Vaas Montenegro, Far Cry 3
Released: 16th June 2022
Engine: Unreal Engine 4
- Good amount of locations to explore, each with its own unique puzzles or quirks. Each room is interesting to unlock and explore… the first time, at least.
- Decent replay value thanks to multiple endings and different possible paths to take.
- Logical environmental interaction that plays out in a plausible way using the items at hand.
- Tremendously unfair death-related mechanics designed to kill in ways you can’t possibly anticipate the first time. This creates ‘filler content’ via backtracking since the world resets on each death.
- Generic storyline, mediocre writing of lore documents. Nothing feels original or interesting at any point, the decent premise devolves into ‘yet another horror’ very quickly.
- Obnoxious voiced protagonist, who speaks the same lines endlessly and describes items in a flat, irritating, out-of-place tone that completely ruins the atmosphere.
- Poor MKB support. Mouse usage is limited to aiming/looking around, all menus need to be navigated with Arrow Keys or WASD without key rebinding. Unacceptable for a 2022 PC release.
- Inability to discard/delete unwanted or useless items: you’ll have to run back to a stash each time, or use an item if possible, to make room.
Bugs & Issues
- Some distortion effects, like film grain or film bands, can’t be turned off.
- Enemies can spawn very close to transitions/doors, and become a guaranteed damage source you can’t avoid in time.
- 32GB RAM
Content & Replay Value
It took me around 4 hours to complete Oxide Room 104 with one of the endings available. Playtime may vary greatly depending on number of deaths (resets). Replay value is decent: depending on certain actions and the number of deaths you will unlock different endings and situations, however, most of the game will remain the same nonetheless.
Is It Worth Buying?
No. Not only the price tag of 20€ is rather steep for 4 hours plus additional runs (that will take much less, given your acquired knowledge), but the outlined issues deal a severe blow to any and all enjoyment. Move on to better survival horrors, there’s plenty around.
A poorly-executed survival horror that relies on annoying mechanics to stretch content, alongside an obnoxious protagonist and a forgettable story.
Oxide Room 104 – In-Depth Analysis
Premise, Setting & Writing
Naked and terrified, you’ll wake up in a bathtub full of bloodied water. You don’t have the slightest idea of what happened, and now you’re locked in a motel bathroom. After getting your bearings and finding a way out, you’ll soon understand things aren’t alright at all in this decrepit, half-totaled motel, between unearthly screams and horrendous abominations that roam the locales.
Most of Oxide Room 104 is set in a three-story motel under renovation. The horror feeling is kinda there, with most premises being dark, damp, foggy and eerie, as well compounded by an audio compartment that does the job well enough. Too bad this is all ruined by Matt (as in, you) constantly stating “he needs to get out”, or describing events/items with a tone as robotic as a train station’s automated announcer. Some classic ‘cheap jumpscares’ are added to the mix at times, and they fail to impress.
Numerous lore documents pertaining to yourself, or other relevant characters, can be found in the furniture, on the ground and generally all over the place. Each of the writers is distinct enough in their tone, however, the content itself feels quite cliched and just doesn’t hook you the right way at any point. “Mad scientist doing crazy experiments” trope? Check! “Guy who lost humanity and now is on a vengeance”? Sure! “Token female character that doesn’t know what the hell to do”? Yep! Horror tropes 101, everyone.
Exploration & Puzzles
Your primary goal will be opening as many rooms as you can, in the hopes of finding a way to the third floor’s common areas, the only exit still available. Think of each room as a self-contained mini-puzzle, as most of them will have one or more items to interact with, that often require you to figure out a specific item order, a code, or the right item to use between several. There is always a right way and several wrong ways to get something done, the latter ones often inflicting a detrimental status effect, or killing you instantly in a few cases.
The main issue is that in many instances, not only is there no clear way to figure out what’s right or wrong but you’ll also be actively deceived by Oxide itself. For example, I found the number “15” behind a closet and said to myself “that must be the correct vial, among five, I have to pick for this puzzle!” – nope, I got poisoned and died instead. Expect this to happen numerous times, and if you run out of supplies, well… goodbye!
Exploring in Oxide Room 104 will indeed net you a modest number of consumables, like bandages or antidotes, vital to clear the effects that otherwise become lethal in around 30-40 seconds or so. Even by collecting all of them, there’ll be no way in Hell you’ll be able to get out alive on your first run: too many shenanigans you can’t predict.
Combat & Inventory Management
Your trusty revolver will be the only means of defense against the horrors. Bullets are a fairly common finding, and most enemies take five to vanquish. It’s a simple point-and-shoot affair, with a small quick-time event to free yourself from an enemy’s grab, and no other particular mechanic, since all except one enemy are static threats. It has to be noted enemies have a detection system, some of them can be ‘stealthed’ but this is inconsistent – most will just spawn and target you immediately after certain interactions, though.
Up to nine inventory slots can be gained, via some items found in the various rooms. This is very limited compared to the amount of unique stuff you’ll find (like keys), but the shared stashes alleviate part of the issue by letting you deposit items for later use, and retrieve them at any time. And yet, expect to backtrack back and forth numerous times for this.
So, what happens exactly when you die? Don’t worry, I’ll now explain to you the peak of game design we have to deal with here. Upon your demise, a story-related cutscene will play, different each time, and you’ll be back to square one at the bathtub. Everything has been reset: stash, inventory, upgrades, doors are locked again. Some things changed, though: certain enemy spawn have been altered, and on later deaths more foes will spawn, like poison plants. Most item spawns remain the same, except for a very few that change slightly. This would be fine and interesting if implemented properly – not the case here.
The thing is, nothing major changes with death, apart from more enemies to deal with and the ending you’ll get. You’ll have to do the exact same things again twice, thrice, etc. – each time with added annoyances. This becomes tedious, boring very soon, and given the game kills you in unpredictable ways as explained before, this creates a perfect storm of frustration. Don’t think of this as ‘old school’ because it isn’t, it’s simply badly designed.