The Room (one) was one of those games that was unmistakably unique.
Its puzzles, while challenging, weren’t entirely original, but it was its mixture of teasingly-explained story and dark atmosphere that made the entire experience memorable. It’s one of those games that you manage to remember even after a slew of other apps impede its space on your iPhone. The original was truly a beautiful, haunting adventure, and I’m happy to report The Room Two is just as good and memorable, and earns its memory footprint on your home screen.
Picking up after the first game’s cliffhanger ending, The Room Two once again has our unnamed hero working his way through a series of puzzles and a story as confusing as it was in the first game. Neither the story nor the puzzles can make The Room a complete experience on their own, but combined in tandem as they were in the first game, they keep the player chugging along to the very end. Both sides to the game work well, thankfully, and craft The Room Two into more of an “experience” than just a typical App Store game.
The first-person puzzle mechanics remain the same from the original, but the onslaught of puzzles are still intriguing and just flat-out cool enough to work perfectly. The childlike joy of tampering with minutely detailed mechanisms and the endorphin rush when you “get” the puzzles in question are still as strong as ever. Not to mention the amount of puzzles is satisfying and well-tuned; I never felt like the puzzles were filler. The Room Two is not the first puzzle game in the world, but it still manages to keep the puzzling feeling fresh and invigorating.
The plot that tries to tie the whole game together is unfortunately still as convoluted as it was before, and it’s still only delivered in short note form, which doesn’t help the player grasp it very well in general. However, the dimension-hopping focus is entertaining and wild, and the precise score, and atmospheric visuals manage to hold the player’s attention when the story alone can’t.
The Room Two as an experience manages to again weave aesthetics and its puzzles together in near-perfect harmony, but there were still a couple of issues to be had with the game. Firstly, controlling the camera, while not a hassle, could be an issue during times when I wanted to maneuver precisely. Thankfully, such minuscule movement is not a requirement to solve any of the puzzles. Also, the introductory conundrums are a bit easy, and the first chapter or so may be breezed through by most players, which is a shame, considering how I hoped each section would all be well-utilized.
Though it really only offers more of the same, “the same” is still excellent and interesting. The puzzles are fun to piece through, and the story is still engaging enough to keep players involved. Overall, The Room Two is just as beautiful, atmospheric, and puzzling as its predecessor, and it will keep those who liked the first very entertained.