Review - The Room - It's Really About a Box
The Room, as a name, might be misleading. You are ostensibly trapped in a room, but this isn't one of those many "get out of this room" puzzle games that you find on Android and iOS. You're definitely in a room, but the real mystery lies at the heart of the room. An ornate box, and all the mysteries therein, beckons to you.
This is far and away the best puzzle game I've played on any mobile platform. The puzzles are intricate and multi-layered. Solving one puzzle leads to more puzzles. Solving the conundrum of one box leads to yet another nested box — a matryoshka doll of boxes. Every box has a dozen or so intricate puzzles to solve, before moving on to the next. Each box is its own chapter in the game. There are four chapters and a newly released epilogue. The epilogue will act as a bridge to the upcoming The Room 2.
This is a game you savour. Resist the urge to use the hint system.
Interactions with the game are tactile in nature. You don't simply drop a key on a keyhole and you're done, the key is placed in the keyhole, you turn the key, then there are whirs and clicks, and something happens. Unlike other puzzle games, The Room is not simply about dragging stuff from your inventory and dropping it on game elements. There are knobs and levers and dials and buttons and handles to twist and turn and pull and flick.
Not only do you interact with the box, but there are mini-puzzles and necessary interactions with the items that are placed in your inventory. Fiddling with keys to get them into the correct configuration. Manipulating brass cylinders which turn them into new, more useful objects. Finding secret compartments in books and other containers.
If that were not enough, the developers add two modes in which to view the box. Your normal eyesight is one such mode, and the other viewing mode is aided by a special lens that can reveal hidden details. Some puzzles require the use of the lens. Some do not. Some require a mixture of both modes.
The sound effects and music are very moody. It sets a foreboding, and somewhat creepy, tone for the game.
This is a game you savour. Resist the urge to use the hint system. The act of examining and interacting with the boxes should be relished. The game isn't exceptionally long as it is, so rush through and you miss a lot of the joy of the interactions. The boxes are beautiful little creations.
Interacting with the game is tactile in nature. You engage with every element of the box.
The game itself, the overall mystery, might be a tad too short, but this isn't a puzzle game that was thrown together overnight. The care and attention to detail that went into devising the boxes is evident. What does The Room remind me of? Myst. The Room is a smaller, more intimate version of Myst.