Can Fireproof Games’ follow-up recreate the mysteries of its predecessor while staying fresh? (Rating: 4 out of 5 stars)
The original The Room, released in September 2012, earned its Game of the Year badge with with awesome visuals, interesting puzzles, and a creepy atmosphere that called to mind games like the PC classic The 7th Guest.
The Room Two picks up where the first one left off—go back to the original and play the epilogue they patched in, if you haven’t—and you end up in a new room in front of a new table. Only this room is a bit better furnished, with more tables and more doors. Those doors lead to more locations than the original contained, and The Room Two is a much broader game with a wider variety of settings and puzzles.
For those who enjoyed the original but felt it a little narrow in focus, this will be refreshing. The puzzles are still tough, and for the most part they're very well balanced. That said, there are a couple puzzles that could have used a bit more work; in one case the game teaches you that something works a certain way, and the solution is to do the exact opposite. It’s frustrating, but it’s also the exception to the rule.
There’s a good mix of solutions that are immediately apparent and solutions that will have you scratching your head for a bit. It keeps the game moving but encourages multiple play sessions. Be warned that if you try to play through The Room Two quickly, it’s easy to develop a sense of puzzle fatigue, and that hint button in the corner becomes mighty tempting. Put the game down for a few hours if that button’s draw becomes overwhelming, because The Room Two is best experienced using one's wit and that alone.
But like the original, The Room Two's primary hook is the graphics and art. The puzzles are satisfying, but the reward for completing a puzzle or even a step in a puzzle is seeing what sort of crazy visual the game has in store. Unfortunately this is one case in which the original did a slightly better job than its sequel. The small box that sat on the table central to The Room had nearly endless secrets inside; the more you dug, the more it opened to reveal impossible spaces. It was surprising and a pleasure to see what comes next. But The Room Two sacrifices some of that for the sake of variety, as many puzzles have you zipping from one table to the next and back.
The most impressive thing about The Room Two is how, like the original, it manages to get spookier and spookier as you progress. Excellent use of sound and light keeps things focused on the puzzles, but leaves you wondering what might be out in the shadows.
The Room Two looks great, but the wider scope hurts that sense of foreboding wonder that the first had nailed so well. Even with that, it’s still one of the best-looking games on iOS and is one of the best ways to show off horsepower of even the outdated iPad 2.
Even if The Room Two doesn’t quite drag you down a never-ending rabbit hole of machinery like fans may have hoped for, the broader scale adds a sense of displacement, like you’re in a place you shouldn’t be. It’s a slightly different feeling, but it’s just as satisfying and beautiful as the first. For fans of the original look for a way back into The Room, this should do nicely—and new players will find plenty to discover as well.
- The Room Two
- Developer: Fireproof Games
- Platforms: iOS (played), Android
- Price: $4.99
- In-app purchases? No
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