The Room (iPad 2 iOS 6.0.1)

Summary [5 out of 5]

The Room is the first foray into the iOS gaming library from the folks at Fireproof Games, some Criterion alumni who banded together and released this short masterpiece, which has won Game of the Year from the App Store. The Room is a puzzle solving game with an interesting ambiguous narrative. To me it really invokes something of Lovecraftian and perhaps even Clive Barker’s Hellraiser mythos in nature with a great welcoming nature to complete the challenges and continue on… if you dare.

What Is It Like?

The Room feels like it harkens back to some of the excellent elements found in Myst by using a great deal of cleverness and ambiguity to  solve each puzzle. You clear a level by deciphering each clue on the the puzzle box completely and a challenge is issued if you wish to continue.

You need to be observant and keep a few mental notes on what items on challenges you have completed, as things don’t always carry onto the next level or you may need to note something and move onto another side of the puzzle box.

The Great

Game Play: The gameplay is straight forward puzzle solving using tactile interface, but more so your wit. So you need to be clever and examine all the angles, if you run into an impasse you can always use the Hint button to help guide you.

Graphics: Played on an iPad 2 so no retina display here, but the graphics still seemed pretty well for the device and the atmosphere is highly engaging in creating a sense of dread and foreboding.

 

The Good

Level Design: They did a great job matching the levels and puzzles to create a mysterious atmosphere, not to spoil anything but when you get close to the end you are treated to quite a show of stars. I could not resist saying to myself, “My God, it’s full of stars!”

Examination: Sometimes you need to look at things from a different angle, or through a different lens if you will. A good and simple mechanic that is well placed has good functionality.

 

The Bad

The Length: This is a somewhat short game that you can burn through quickly, but keep in mind it carries a $1.99 price tag and for what you get it is easily worth that price.

 

Conclusion [5 out of 5]

The Room is a great step towards making iOS and mobile gaming a more serious medium with games that can be enveloping and engaging on a cerebral, visual and tactile level. Solving the puzzles and reading through the notes from your benefactor help create an interesting and engaging atmosphere that will keep you baffled even after the end. This is one game that will not be null and void anytime soon.

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About Charles Lynch, Reviews Editor

Charles co-hosts The Gentlemen Radio (podcast on this site) with J. Patrick Ohlde, Jeffrey Stephenson and one other gentlemen. He is a beard and beer enthusiast, enjoys short walks in the mountains and video games. He has a degree in Business Management from the University of Arizona that he is doing absolutely nothing with. He is an actor, voice actor, sometimes animator, rarely a homebrewer and hosts a show on YouTube about beer culture (youtube.com/spentgrains).

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