Remember as a kid going to your grandparents house and having nothing to do except play with 50 year old toys that are no longer intellectually stimulating and serve no purpose whatsoever. So while the grown-ups are in the living room watching re-runs of Red Skelton and eating their Apple Crumb Betty, you venture out on your own and explore the wonders of Grandma’s house digging deep into the corners that haven’t seen the light of day in ages. Oh the things you will find. Creepy dolls with beady eyes, a handmade toy that is missing some main component that deems it useless, and buried under an old blanket (or afkhan as the older folks like to call it) is a mesmerizing box that belongs in a museum. In the middle of a dust filled dungeon its something that doesn’t belong there but at the same time has been there for aeons. Its one of those things you know you shouldn’t touch and will probably get in trouble if you do, but you just have to know what’s inside and the secrets that it holds. The new iPad game The Room is all about that box and what’s inside. Getting to the center, well that’s the tricky part.
Fireproof Studios brings us this challenging iPad exclusive 3D puzzle game that uses every bit of what the iPad can do. On the surface The Room is a basic game. Presented in front of you is a box. Its not a typical cardboard square box, but something out of…well, your grandma’s house. Its large, has odd designs all over it, multiple sides and doors, locks and codes. All of which need to be solved in order to reveal what is inside. Solve one of the boxes many riddles and it gives you a clue to solve another clue on another side of the box, which gives you another clue and so on. Is it challenging? In four words, you better believe it.
How the riddles are solved is where the game shines. When I said you use the full functionality of the iPad, I wasn’t kidding. You’re zooming in and out to look at a fine detail at the bottom of a post that just might have a key hidden in a sliding door (which you must slide open of course) which will then open a small latch on another side (which you must slide to insert and rotate the key by turning it) which open up to some strange looking contraption that you must use your optical lense to see hidden blacklight details which leads to a puzzle where you need to physically rotate your iPad so small bocce like balls line up perfectly in order to see a video reel that is creepy as hell!! It will either drive you insane, or use all the iPad’s battery life trying to figure it out. Have no fear however, if you are the jittery type and get frustrated easily just click the “?” in the corner and it will give you clues on where you should be looking. It’s similar to those interactive trivia games you find in bars and restaurants. The first couple clues are vague and still require you to use your brain, and the last one just basically tells you you’re an idiot and go here, or go there. But for you true sleuths, ignore the “?” and see how far you can go to solve the many riddles without the help. My guess is not very far.
As with many games, the first thing that grabs your attention is the music. This is where The Room gets its tone. Its one thing if it was just a puzzle game. Here’s a box, solve the riddles, but its so much more than that solely because of the music. The game almost goes into the suspense category because of it. Think Pan’s Labyrinth or The Others. Its creepy. Play it with headphones and in the dark, and you will be peering to see if someone is in the room (no pun intended) with you. Nothing jumps out at you, and there are no weird looking creatures around the corner. Instead, you get a jolt when something new is discovered. The first time you use the optical lens is truly memorable. For all you “Lost” fans, think of the scene when Locke was in the hatch and got caught under that closing door, he looks up and sees in blacklight a blueprint of something he has no idea of what it is, but its overwhelming and contains huge amounts of clues. Or look through the telescope piece and…well just look through the telescope piece. Its downright chilling.
Is there a point or story to The Room? Or do you just have a random box in front of you and all you’re trying to do is see what’s inside? In short there is a story. There is a box, and something is inside of it. Well, it’s a little more than that, but I’m not giving anything away. Lets just say, if you build it he will come…or something to that effect.
Fireproof Studios did a tremendous job of taking a simple premise and turning it into something memorable, and its all because of the tone. That creepy, eerie tone sets it apart from other puzzle games. Its a bit on the short side, but thats only if you use the “?” without trying to figure out the hidden secrets on your own. The true Sherlocks will dissect every aspect of the different puzzles presented to them. If you’re able to get there with just your wits, smarts and keen eye, the sense of accomplishment is immense.