The Room review

The haunting music and mysteriously ajar door that make up The Room’s title screen might hint at supernatural adventure, but get past the spooky atmosphere enveloping Fireproof’s iOS puzzler and you’ll find a game more interested in the physical than the ethereal.

A series of locked-box puzzles, The Room presents players with a procession of ornate containers studded with strange panels and riddled with arcane mechanisms. You interact with these chests exclusively through gestures, tapping to zoom in, pinching to zoom back out, and swiping to slide drawers and spin dials.

Figuring out the purpose of these components requires logic, spatial reasoning and pattern-spotting skills, and on occasion you’ll find items that warrant further investigation before they can be slotted into one of the boxes’ apparatuses. Barring some untelegraphed use of the gyroscope, controls make simple, intuitive sense throughout, and bring a near-tactile life to Fireproof’s polished and lacquered models.

What Fireproof has done, in other words, is to literally wrap the mechanics of a point and click adventure, with its abstract puzzles and occasionally opaque logic, around these fantastical contraptions, before suffusing the experience with an air of ghostly mystery. Narrative is delivered in the form of letters found stashed within the boxes (as well as a few more unexpected means) and there’s a genuine sense – as you work your way to centre of one box to find another locked chest within it – of heading towards some great revelation. It never comes, however, as this is merely The Room’s first chapter, but that doesn’t offset the pleasure of working towards it.

8
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