Game: The Room
System: Nintendo Switch
Publisher: Team 17
Age Rating: UK 3| USA E
Price: £7.99|$9.99|€ 9,99
Release Date: October 18th 2018
Also Available on IOS/PC
A review code was kindly provided by Team 17
Following a trail of mysterious letters, you go on a journey that is shrouded in secrets and deception. You find yourself trapped in The Room with only an elaborate puzzle box. You follow in the footsteps of a Victorian scientist whose research led him into otherworldly realms. Or so it seems.
“I knew your curiosity would get the better of you……the answers you seek are inside this box along with something else. Something they said could never be built…”
The game description promises that you have to use your wits to unlock all the answers you seek to get ahead. And I can tell you, it’s not an empty promise.
A game with a history
The Room is a game that already has a long history, the game isn’t exactly new. It was a series on mobile devices before and even won a BAFTA award for best game. For me, it’s the first time I played The Room. So, a total novice here. Let’s see how well it fits on Nintendo’s hybrid console.
There are two ways to control the game. You can use the joy cons when you play the game on the big screen. Well, actually you just have to use one joy con. Or you can use the touchscreen like I did. In handheld mode the buttons don’t work, it’s touchscreen all the way. Takes some getting used to, but the controls work flawlessly.
You can rotate the puzzle box in front in front of you in every direction. Double tap zooms in on a certain part, and pinching zooms out again. At the start, you will find an eyepiece with which you can see things that remain hidden otherwise. Th touch controls work just as flawlessly as they do on an iPad.
You start off with a tutorial of sorts, getting to grip with your first puzzle box. I can them puzzle boxes, but that is really not an apt description. They look beautiful, an artefact that you can take to the Antiques Roadshow to be appraised. When zoomed in you can even see the grain of the wood, it’s that detailed.
The detail is necessary too, as The Room is very good at presenting you with puzzles in puzzles in puzzles. When you find a key, you might also need to rotate pieces of that key to make it fit in the keyhole you discover. When you finally collect all the missing cogs and figure out where they go into a gear system, you might need to reposition some to get further along.
You discover items that you can add to your inventory, and these you need to examine as well to see if they hide any secrets or have to be altered for use on the box. And then there’s the magic eyepiece which shows you things on the surfaces that are otherwise hidden.
It’s very satisfying to follow the trail of notes scattered throughout the chapters and finish one part of the big puzzle. Once you have solved the puzzle box before you, it’s on to the next one and new challenges.
Atmosfere in spades
The music is relaxing and at the same time a bit ominous. You can’t help but wonder what happened to the scientist who left the notes behind. The sound effect are very nice, you really feel as if you’ve popped open a drawer or turned a lock.
The visuals are great. Aside from the puzzle itself you see the moon beam (or is it the sun?) through the window coming into the otherwise dark room, giving it an eerie feeling.
At first I thought this adaptation for the Switch would bring us all four parts of the mobile series as one game. But this game is the same as the first game on mobile, and that means it isn’t overly long. After the intro there’s four chapters and an epilogue. Each chapter offers a new puzzle package to figure out.
Never having played the original games, puzzling in The Room is a pleasant experience. As I wrote in my segment of YvoCaro Plays (the article is here) you do need a relaxed brain. I’m no pro at this, so the hints the game presents were welcome. I still had to look up some things on the internet: being stuck isn’t something I enjoy.
The game has found a great home on the Switch. The controls work well, the graphics are great and the music is the perfect accompaniment.
Looking at my App Store on the iPad I see the first game (which is the same) as well as the follow up games. The Room can be downloaded there to try the first chapter for free, after which you can pay to download the other chapters.
The Room is a great game. Looking at the price point though, the Switch pricing feels a bit high. It would have been more justified if more sequels had been in one package.