The Room: Puzzling at Its Finest

The Duck recently had the pleasure of playing a little puzzle game called The Room, which I heard about from fellow blogger The Shameful Narcissist.  Originally released as an iOS game in 2012, I got to play the Switch version, which came about far more recently (2018…I’m always late for things).  This game was a short and sweet experience, so this review will be, as well.

The Room is a puzzle game consisting of four chapters and an epilogue and can be completed in a couple hours if you have no idea what you’re doing and are incredibly slow.  Like me. With that said, it’s also one of those games that should be short, and thus, won’t overstay its welcome.

Controls are equally simple, with your abilities being to drag yourself about a single point in the room, zoom in and out, and select things, with other motion controls added in, such as turning a key or opening a lid.  This really helps to enhance the feeling of actually messing around with physical objects. (Oh, and the graphics in this game are really nice, as well. They look practically photo-realistic.)

Each chapter more or less has one goal in mind.  For example, chapter 1 has you opening a safe, and chapter 2 has you figuring out how to open the box that you find in the safe.  But this task is much more difficult than one might expect because whatever object you happen to be tinkering with in that particular chapter can be surprisingly dense with secrets, such as hidden compartments that might open the way to an item or an entirely new set of puzzles that need to be solved.  Even certain items can be interacted with, such as a key whose end can be rotated to fit different locks. You also get an eyepiece in chapter 1 that will play a vital role in your puzzling endeavors, as it allows you to see things that are invisible to the naked eye….

As far as difficulty goes, these puzzles should definitely get your mind working, but they aren’t so difficult that you shouldn’t be able to solve them with enough thinking.  Plus, the game provides you with helpful tips if you really need them. There is also enough variety in the puzzles to keep things interesting, and I rarely had the feeling of “Oh, not this again”.  (Not until a couple of puzzles towards the end.)

What helps to keep the game interesting beyond gameplay is the mysteries surrounding the previous occupant of this room and his rather unconventional scientific endeavors, which you will be uncovering as the game progresses.  Some say a negative about the game is that it ends just as things are getting interesting. Honestly, I kind of like this because it kept me wondering about what had happened even after I had completed it. For such a short game that may not have much replay value, I think a good, unsolved mystery is exactly what it needs.

This game is perfect in pretty much every way, though if I had to choose one thing to nitpick over, it was the semi-awkward controls.  To play this game on the Switch, you can use either the touchscreen or the left Joycon, which you must point at the TV and use to select things and drag yourself around.  I used the latter method, and sometimes the Joycon didn’t want to cooperate with me. It wouldn’t always select things I was pointing at, and sometimes I couldn’t turn something with any real precision, causing it to spin out of control, thus thwarting my puzzling efforts.  The pointer won’t stay centered, either, though that can be solved with the quick press of a button. These issues weren’t really that bad, but I would definitely say the controls were the biggest cause for frustration, even if not a huge one.

Video from YouTube user: Virtual Bastion

If you’re a fan of puzzle games like me, then this is one game you simply can’t miss.  Though I would recommend getting the game elsewhere, as it is $10 on the Switch, $5 on Steam, and a whopping $1 on the Google Play Store?!

So who here has played The Room?  Who has played the sequels, and would you recommend them?  Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below!

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