App Review: The Room (iOS)
19 Oct 2012
We review atmospheric puzzler The Room on iPad
One of our favourite new puzzle games on Apple’s tablet, The Room is a beautifully crafted mind-beater that’ll give your brain a solid prodding. The plot is typically light: you find yourself stuck in a room with an enormous box, left to you by an absent relative, with instructions to crack its mysteries and find a way inside. It’s a thin premise that takes a back seat to the real meat of the game, which is figuring out how to peel away the many different layers and reveal the box’s mysterious treasure.
The controls are so simple and natural that you’ll pick them up instantly. From the first-person viewpoint you can move around the box by swiping left, right, up and down. Zoom in and out of different sections by pinching your fingers, and tap hotspots to interact with them. You can pick up keys and other objects that can then be examined and manipulated, while a mysterious lens can be peered through at any time, giving everything a spooky green glow and revealing hidden secrets.
We loved The Room’s puzzles, which offered a good blend of observation, lateral thinking and good ol’ fashioned trial and error. You’ll have to carefully examine the box from every angle to pick up on clues and hidden doors, and solve all manner of brain teasers, from assembling cogs to repair a clock to twisting keys until they fit a lock. The best part is that you’re never solving just a single puzzle at one time. Instead, the box is one giant conundrum, with secrets and levers and mechanisms that are all tied together into one glorious whole.
There’s a subtle hint system if you’re completely stumped, which gently prods you in the right direction (for example, have you tried looking at X). It’s fantastically implemented so nothing is spoiled, and you still have to dedicate some brain power to progress. Still, we preferred thrashing out every puzzle we found without relying on the hints – the best thing about The Room is it makes you feel incredibly smart when you finally crack its riddles.
Presentation is also fantastic, with beautifully crisp graphics topped only by the hauntingly beautiful soundtrack. Some of the music borders on spine-chilling and we swear we kept hearing sharp, sudden noises in the background – a thud or a footstep or something else that had us peering around the darkness.
With its heady mix of excellent brain teasers and impeccable presentation, the Room should be an insta-buy for anyone after a smart and satisfying puzzler. It's available now on iOS for £2.99
Editor: Chris Barraclough