The Room

This may tear you apart, but no, not the movie

The Room (not to be confused with The Room) is an atmospheric escape-the-room game about, despite the name and genre, opening a series of puzzle boxes. Unlike most escape-the-room games, The Room has full 3D graphics and physical control, making it feel quite close to actually manipulating the boxes yourself. While there a couple of corners that feel like they could be smoothed out, The Room is a high quality puzzler that I recommend if you enjoy the genre.

The Room features great graphics, with high-quality 3D models for all of the game assets, from the puzzle boxes to the inventory items to the background locale. The puzzle boxes have elegant, intricate designs that create a consistent aesthetic that reinforces the atmosphere of mysterious, esoteric secrets. Although I don't think the boxes are actually physically possible (they seem to have a lot more stuff inside than they should be able to hold), the graphics quality does make it feel like they're actual puzzle boxes.

The sounds are good, but mostly atmospheric. Aurally, I was reminded the most of Legend of Grimrock, with mostly ambient noise along with some chimes whenever you solve or discover a puzzle. The music on its own isn't anything special, but it fits the atmosphere perfectly.

The puzzles and gameplay are overall solid. The biggest problem is that there are some moments where it just isn't clear what area you're supposed to tackle yet or it isn't clear that a certain part can be interacted with. There is an in-game hint system, but that seems to mostly give hints on how to deal with things you've found, so it doesn't really address the most frustrating elements. Once you get the hang of it and learn how the game operates, though, it becomes much more easier to find all the movable parts.

I think the thing that really impressed me the most was that the you physically needed to do basically everything. In most escape-the-room games, when you need to use a key to open a lock, you would simply drag the key to the lock and it would open. In The Room, however, dragging the key to the lock would cause the key to appear in the lock, and then you'd need to turn it yourself to open it. Needing to do every single physical manipulation yourself really enhanced the immersion and made the game feel like an actual simulation.

The plot is minimal, but the atmosphere carries the game regardless. You've apparently been called by... someone you know, and he's left you a mysterious safe for you to open. The plot is presented through diary pages you find, which provide some explanation behind what happens, but serves mostly as set-up for future titles. While a good story is always a bonus in these types of puzzle games, the main focus is on the gameplay. This story isn't anything special, but there's plenty of room to get interesting in the sequels.

The game has five chapters that take about 30~40 minutes each, so the game clocks in at around three hours. This is a bit on the short side, but the lack of plot means The Room is basically pure gameplay and it doesn't cost much, so you don't feel short-changed.

The Room is a game you should definitely pick up if you like puzzlers. You can probably get on sale without too much of a wait, but the price is low enough that you don't need to wait if you're interested enough.

Based on the Steam version

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