We were not alone in loving Fireproof Games‘ The Room, released in 2012. It’s an atmospheric puzzler that requires the player to explore various objects in a room in minute detail — twisting and turning them to discover secrets and advance the puzzle. There was no enemy present, but an overwhelmingly sinister atmosphere leaves you feeling unsettled.
When the Room Two came out in December, I grabbed it immediately. I finally got to play it this week and I played it feverishly, staying up late, wanting to solve just one more puzzle. Much like the original, the game is amazingly animated. The objects are full of detail, and you feel you are manipulating a real item, not a computer graphic, as you twist and turn them on screen. I was surprised at how often I was startled in this game — there’s no bad guy breathing over your shoulder, no threat to your (character’s) life, but the atmosphere, soundtrack and storyline combine to sinister effect.
The Room Two advances the original’s story line – you are still following the footsteps of AS (revealed only in the slightly mad notes he leaves for you), hot on the trail of the mysterious element Null. This game expands from the original’s footprint — you move from room to room, revealing hidden doorways at the culmination of each set of puzzles. A special lens allows you to find hidden messages, from fingerprints to scrawled notes & markings. There is a reasonable difficulty curve — you begin with puzzles that are fairly straightforward, but end in a room where you hop from puzzle to puzzle as new pieces are revealed. There are hints available if you get truly stuck — they come in a series, starting by vaguely pointing you in the right area and ending by specifically detailing what you must do next. You have the option to turn the hints off if you’d prefer not to be tempted.
It’s an absorbing game — when I got stuck I’d switch it off, but a part of my brain would be continuing to work on the problem. Like most of my favorite puzzlers (starting way back with Myst and going straight up to Portal), some solutions were so simple that they made me feel foolish once I finally found them. That sounds like a complaint, but really I think that’s a mark of a good game — it forces me to think logically and to pay attention. I’m not surprised it has a solid 5 star rating.
The Room Two is $4.99 and requires iOS 5 or later on an iPad 2 or newer.