(click linked text below to jump to related section of the review)
- The Game Itself
- 4.5 Stars
- The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
- 5 Stars
- The Audio: Rating the Sound
- 4 Stars
- Replay Factor
- 2 Stars
- Bottom Line
- Highly Recommended
The Room Two
- Street Date:
- January 29th, 2014
- Reviewed by:
- Bill Braun
- Review Date:1
- February 27th, 2014
- Game Release Year:
- Fireproof Studios
- Fireproof Studios
Tablets like the iPad have become mobile entertainment devices and a breeding ground for digital gaming of all shapes and sizes. From two-minute distractions to lengthy campaigns that apply virtual controls to the touch-screen interface, tablet gaming is now approachable for nearly every gamer out there. Still, finding new and creative ways to entertain the mobile gaming masses can be a difficult market to manage. Fireproof Games embraced the touch-based interface with 2012's 'The Room' and, with 'The Room Two', has now expanded the experience through greater immersion and varied puzzle solving.
The Game Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
'The Room' was a surprise favorite of mine. It was a delightful, thematic experience that was entertaining, but short lived. The single puzzle box provided mechanics I was not expecting, and a depth that left me wanting a great deal more. Thankfully, after a ground swell of high praise and a little more than a year after its release, the developers at Fireproof Games have delivered 'The Room 2'; a follow-up that is altogether grander in scope, storytelling, and imagination.
'The Room Two' provides a control scheme that should be second nature to anyone owning a smart phone or tablet. Taps, swipes, and pinches allow you to manage the gameplay and directly interact with the environment. The simplistic controls have allowed the developers to focus on the more important aspects of game immersion and puzzle box creativity.
Taking obvious cues from the vivid imagination of H.P. Lovecraft, players control a character hired to solve the mystery, inadvertently stumbled upon or delivered by design; the truth of the matter never fully unfolds. Consequently, the result is far more mysterious and engaging.
Like slipping through both time and space, each room that opens before you presents its own unique and original set of puzzles, while continually displaying environments that manage to keep things fresh and interesting. As the game progresses, you find yourself jumping between objects within the same room, all of which provide individual puzzles resolutions intricately tied to one another. Unlocking a chest reveals a hidden cog missing from a clock that, when wound, reveals archaic writings that can only be viewed when using your other-worldly lens . . . . and so on, and so on . . .
On occasion, however rare, finding a missing piece or solving a particular puzzle may get the better of you. In this case, 'The Room Two' often provides a subtle hint as to the task at hand. Viewing these clues is entirely up to the player, and they generally come in sets of three – from a nudge in the right direction to firm handholding. Where I may have taken advantage of these hints while playing 'The Room', the difficulty of 'The Room Two' has been adjusted to accommodate for a wider audience. As a result, although still highly entertaining, I found the individual puzzle difficulty to be much easier, and a step back from the first entry in the series.
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
Although available for both smart phones and tablets, 'The Room Two' is best played on a bigger surface to fully appreciate the highly detailed environments and complexity of the puzzles. I completed my playthrough of the game on an iPad 3 with Retina display and was highly impressed with the level of detail the game delivered.
While many of the rooms were often dark, illuminated by a single lamp or torch, having the ability to zoom in with a simple pinch of two fingers proved that even in a low-light setting, 'The Room Two' is taking full advantage of the graphical capabilities built in to the iPad.
The Audio: Rating the Sound
'The Room Two' approaches audio from a minimalist stance. Because there is no voice-over, greater importance is placed on the sound effects that help to create a more believable environment. Flipping a switch, opening a drawer, turning a key, and rotating a set of gears all provide realistic effects and help to deliver a strong sense of hands-on control and interaction.
Add to this a haunting soundtrack, reminiscent of a child's lullaby, and you recognize that adding voice to this supernatural mystery would have inevitably detracted from the mood it was trying to convey.
I would strongly encourage 'The Room Two' be played using a set of quality headphones for better immersion. Of course, smartphones and tablets can accommodate with their built-in speakers, but the experience will be substantially less interesting with a higher probability of missing out on all the little audio nuances the game has to offer.
After solving all of the puzzles of 'The Room Two' there is little in the way of enticing you to play through the game a second or third time. Although you do have the option to turn off the hints, the puzzles themselves do not change based on that directive. Still, 'The Room Two' does offer chapter selections as they are completed, providing an option to replay your favorite levels, if not the entire game. Speed run enthusiasts might find enough reason to give it a go in record time, but how long it takes you to complete the game would be less an online bragging right and more a personal achievement.
'The Room Two' is that rare breed of videogame that is successful in taking nearly everything that was good about the first game, and developing a sequel that is both bigger and better. The supernatural and Lovecraftian story is expanded upon, leaving you questioning the reality of your experience, and delivering a cinematic ending that suggests a continuation of the series. While the difficulty was noticeably scaled back from the first game, the trade off for a more interesting and immersive experience seems fair, and I'm confident the developers at Fireproof Games will continue to take to heart the lessons learned and apply them appropriately with whatever they choose to develop next. 'The Room Two' simply should not be missed.
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