“Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability.” – H.P. Lovecraft
The Room is an intricate puzzle game first released for iOS in 2012 then remastered and released on Windows in 2014, it is also available on Android and, more recently, the Nintendo Switch. It sees players trying to crack their way into a mysterious and ominous safe on the promise of ancient and astonishing content!
Developer: Fireproof Games
Released: September 2012
Price: £0.99 – £6.99
The Room takes place over four chapters plus an epilogue and the player’s main goal is to crack open a safe and find the contents within, aided by an eyepiece that will reveal hidden clues and mechanisms almost as though it is displaying an alternate time or reality. The safe itself contains compartments and containers that must also be unlocked. This will require the player to solve a range of satisfying conundrums including riddles, hidden objects, perspective-based, logic-based, and even musical puzzles. There is a lot of variety and minimal repetition which keeps things interesting.
The puzzles are very satisfying, with the right level of challenge to make the experience rewarding whilst maintaining a moderate pace. There is, however, a short tutorial and a comprehensive hint system that will offer up to 4 hints per puzzle, each one more revealing than the last. The mouse-only controls are very tactile and mimic the touch controls of the original iOS version of the game. It feels quite immersive to physically drag items, turn keys and use a screwdriver, amongst other actions.
Narrative and Styling
The Room begins with the protagonist being invited to an abandoned attic containing a mysterious safe. Promised within are the answers they seek along with an item of immense power. The story is delivered mostly through notes left by a mysterious character known only by the initials A.S. These describe alchemical work and hint towards what is in the safe. There are some Lovecraftian themes and references and the narrative definitely gets darker as the game progresses.
The realistic 3D art style features detailed textures and lighting that really bring the different objects to life and help immerse the player in the experience. The music matches the aesthetic and themes well with ominous droning, a mysterious twinkling melody, discordant echoes and heartbeats all coming together to create a really atmospheric soundtrack. The clickety-clack of gears and mechanisms make for some very gratifying sound effects and also add to the player’s immersion.
The Room is a fantastic example of a puzzle game and will take around 2-3 hours to complete. Despite the PC version that I reviewed being nearly a decade old the atmospheric visuals and varied and satisfying gameplay still hold up and work together to provide a solid puzzle experience that is very enjoyable. There are also three increasingly creepy and complex sequels available, these continue the themes and narrative of the first instalment and I recommend them all with equal enthusiasm.
Looking for more puzzle games? Check out these reviews:
A Little to the Left – Organisation is the Key to this Relaxing Puzzle Game – Pants Quest – Puzzles and Struggles in this Everyday Adventure – Moncage – Captivating New 3D Puzzle Game