Nintendo has been hitting home runs with its latest spate of releases for the Switch, including Diablo III: Eternal Collection, Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu and Eevee, and Starlink: Battle for Atlas. These games are heavy on the action and will provide hours upon hours of gaming goodness. On the occasion that action and mayhem isn’t what you are in the mood for, however, the Switch is home to some of the best puzzle games on offer today. Case in point, The Room by developers Fireproof Games is what its creators refer to as a physical puzzle game, meaning the focus of the game is to physically manipulate the object on the screen in order to solve the puzzle. This is the type of experience that challenges your brain more so than it stimulates your twitch reflexes.
The Room was first released for mobile platforms in 2012 and users of both Android and iPhone devices seemed to like what the game offered. Fortunately, the tactile design of the Switch made it a perfect fit for the game so the developers decided to see how the Switch’s audience would receive it. The game can be played while the console is docked, allowing you to use the Joy-Cons to manipulate the objects on-screen. In addition, it can be played in the mobile mode with the player using the Switch’s very responsive touch-screen to control navigation to work with the games many brain-twisting puzzles. I tried playing in both modes and found that the game played well either way but I must confess that I finished the game in the mobile mode.
Gameplay mainly consists of touching the screen and dragging in order to rotate the puzzles, tapping to take an item such as a key, a jewel or a picture and store it in your inventory as well as to select a particular location of the puzzle and zoom in, and pinching out in order to return to the normal view. The controls are very simple and allows the player to focus solely on positioning the boxes and solving the puzzles.
The premise of the game is that someone close to you has left you a very important object after their strange disappearance. The catch is that in order to claim this object, you must solve a series of challenging puzzle boxes so that you can find the answers that you seek. It’s a thin story line, I know, but it adds just enough suspense to keep you pushing forward in the game and wanting to find out exactly what is going on.
The visuals in The Room are stunning and are so close to photo-realism that it would be hard to tell the boxes apart from the real thing. The game was given a graphical overhaul for the Switch version in order to take advantage of the increased graphics power that the console possesses. Lines are sharp and the attention to the finer details such as the engraving on the puzzle boxes definitely shows that FG wanted to craft a game that was visually superior to the mobile versions.
In addition, I would suggest that you play the game with a pair of good headphones as the ambient sounds and the background music helps to make the game feel alive even though you are just standing in a room. The sound design helped to create an atmosphere of mystery and suspense as work your way through deciphering the puzzles to determine the whereabouts of your missing friend.
My time spent in The Room was some of the best gaming that I have done all year. The only thing that stops me from giving this game a perfect score was simply because of the length of the game overall. There are only five chapters in the game and if you are good at solving puzzles then it wont take you very long to get through this game in its entirety.
All told, I would say it only took me about two to three hours to complete it and that even includes getting stuck periodically on some of the games more challenging puzzles. There are currently three additional games in the The Room series (The whole series is The Room, The Room: Two, The Room: Three and The Room: Old Sins) and all of them should have been included in one package because the first game is so brief that it only gives you just enough to want more.
This review is based on a copy of the game provided by the publisher.
A mind-bending journey filled with beauty, peril and mystery.
Challenge - 8/10
Gameplay - 8/10
Design - 9.5/10
+ Challenging and brain-twisting puzzles.
+ The ambient sound design sets the mood perfectly.
+ Great game when you just want to kick up your feet and veg out.
– Very short with only a handful of puzzles.