As 2012 draws to a close, there’s a handful of games I’m keen to review, one of which being Fireproof Games’ The Room.
Apple recently awarded The Room the award for iPad Game of the Year 2012, and it’ll almost certainly (i.e. it definitely will) feature in our imminent countdown. It’s reeeaaally good.
Fireproof describes The Room as “a physical puzzler, wrapped in a mystery game, inside a beautifully tactile 3D world.” Couldn’t have put it better myself.
The game The Room reminded me of most was Capcom’s Resident Evil. Not the modern day Gears of War-style zombie-fest that proved so divisive in Resident Evil 6, but the series’ old school puzzles that occasionally left me cradling my teenaged chin and raising a single eyebrow.
A typical puzzle in The Room might see you pulling a lever to open a secret drawer to grab a screwdriver to remove the screws from a panel to unveil a cog. Or something. That kinda thing.
There are also gems and keys and emblems and statues and light and fire and dials and keypads and elastic bands and pipes… You name it, The Room has it.
But what does it all mean? Well, as Fireproof say, The Room is ultimately a mystery game. It all starts with a letter reading: “How are you, old friend? If you’re reading this, then it worked. I only hope you can still forgive me.”
The mystery element doesn’t play a huge part in the puzzling, however. Primarily you’re working your way through a series of puzzles, though intermittently another letter will pop up, with Crazy Dude rambling on about his research into the Zero Element. Great stuff.
The Room has received praise in abundance for two reasons (on top of the brilliantly cerebral puzzling). Firstly, the graphics, which Fireproof claims are “The most natural looking visuals ever seen on a mobile device.” No arguments here.
Also noteworthy are The Room’s touch controls. No FPS-style compromises here; The Room thrives on swipes and pinches. It’s slick as heck.
Gripes? Well, some of The Room’s puzzles are a tad obtuse. And while there are hints available each step of the way (phew), some of them aren’t much help.
For example, one of The Room’s clues – near the end – reads: “I must have missed something, a secret compartment somewhere.” Very good.
But it’s all part of the fun, and only makes The Room that much more satisfying when you finally do work things out.
And that’s The Room. ‘Tis excellent. Oh, and it’s also now available for the smaller screen (iPhone and iPod) as The Room Pocket, which is initially free to try.
- Looks great
- Sublime touch controls
- Cerebral puzzles be good
- Perhaps too obtuse for some
Summary: The Room is a superb puzzle slash mystery game, with stunningly realistic visuals and super-smooth touch controls. Buy.
Developer: Fireproof Games
Price: £1.49 @ App Store
Requirements: Compatible with iPad 2 Wi-Fi, iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G, iPad (3rd generation), iPad Wi-Fi + 4G, iPad (4th generation), iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular (4th generation), iPad mini and iPad mini Wi-Fi + Cellular. Requires iOS 5.0 or later.