The Room is a mobile game that’s been around for quite some time now. It’s been available on iOS and Android device for roughly six years already and has now been made available for the Nintendo Switch. It is a point and click puzzle solving game that takes place entirely in, yeah you guessed it, a room. The Nintendo Switch version of The Room received a few minor updates from the original mobile versions such as some cleaner visuals and a few changes to the mechanics, but how does a six-year-old mobile game stack up to today’s standards?
It’s all about a box, actually
The Room is best experienced playing in handheld mode only utilising the touch screen of the Nintendo Switch. You can play it on your TV moving using the joy-con as a sort of pointing device, but it didn’t feel too natural, and I quickly switched over to treating the game as exactly what it is, a mobile game.
As mentioned, the entire game takes place in one room, but everything you do actually revolves around you solving and opening a large puzzle box in the centre of the room. The story surrounding it is very vague but with a few clues lying around, you can kind of figure out what is going on. The box was left behind by a mysterious person who experimented with a new type of element, and the secret to it is locked away behind an elaborate system of puzzles. The puzzles, for the most part, are very cleverly made. You move around the box by swiping your finger left, right, up or down, and then double tapping to zoom in, or pinching to zoom out. Anything you pick up gets placed in your inventory, and even these items can be examined more closely to reveal more clues. Early on in the game, you will receive a type of lens, that when looking through it, will reveal something hidden from you, and can be manipulated to change what you’re seeing, depending on the angle where you’re looking from.
Something I found quite intuitive was the way you had to still move some object, even after you might have slotted it in place, such as turning a key the right direction or having to give a screwdriver a few turns to undo a brass plaque on the side of the box. These small little details give the game some form of immersion and make it feel like you are genuinely there, solving the mystery of the box. The puzzles, for the most part, are very well constructed and thought out, with clues opening up as you go along. You really need to keep your wits about you, since you can easily overlook something that might be important a little bit later on. What did annoy me a bit is that some of the puzzles did become a little bit trial and error for me, and I don’t know if it is that I missed a clue, or if it was intentionally made that way. On numerous occasions I found myself needing to match some dials or symbols without actually having the clue where to start. This was a tad bit frustrating, but the puzzles aren’t that hard to figure out.
The Room is not really a hard puzzle game to play, as it will give you some hints if you need it if you get stuck. The hints remain very vague but might point you in the right direction, or remind you to use the lens to see something hidden from you. The sound design is also very well done. Everything in the game sound pretty authentic from the click of a lock to the slide of a tile to a rolling of a number dial. There’s also a bit of a creepy ambience to The Room which becomes a lot more prominent as the game progresses.
A competent puzzle game, albeit a tad short
The Room received a bit of a graphical upgrade from its mobile counterparts. It runs very smoothly, and the visuals look sharp and clean. You can see the age in the graphics a bit, but it holds up pretty well as it’s got a sort of art style that usually ages very well. While I enjoyed my time playing it, I did find it a tad bit short at around three hours, and I don’t really know if it is a good thing or a bad thing. If you consider it being a mobile game, it is best consumed in shorter stints, but with the immersion that The Room has, you might soon find your Switch complaining about low battery and you reaching for the charger. It is the sort of game that you want to see what is going to happen, and because of this, it might be over sooner than expected.
It is the sort of game that you want to see what is going to happen, and because of this, it might be over sooner than expected.
It is a very competent puzzle game that will work those brain cells of you quite a bit, but it’s not the hardest game with the most impossible solutions, and considering that it only costs around R118, it is totally worth having a look if you travel a lot and need something to pass the time with.