'The Room 2' - review

Monday, 23 December 2013 12:00 PM Written by 

TheRoom2“The Room 2” for iPad is an odd kind of sequel. It doesn’t exactly pick up where “The Room” left off, but rather gives more of the same for puzzle fanatics. There still isn’t much of a story since even the tidbits of a cohesive plot are vague at best. Story takes a back seat to mind-bending puzzles, and a heaping dose of eerie atmosphere.

If you never played “The Room” (it’s currently free on the app store, so you have no excuse), the core gameplay features puzzle solving from the first-person perspective. You’re presented with a puzzle – usually a box or locked object – and you must find a way to open it with exploration. There’s really no way to fail at this. Failure is only achieved by quitting.  

This simple gameplay paired with the game’s attention to detail make it a satisfying package at $4.99. It’s not likely to make you a believer in puzzle games if you were never fond of them to begin with, but it’s a must-play for fans of games like “Portal,” or “Braid.”

I reviewed “The Room 2” on an iPad Air, so I can’t speak for its stability and quality on other iPad versions. The game is optimized for this latest version of iPad, and it shows. It’s slightly sharper and more detailed than its predecessor, thanks to the increased hardware power the developers had access to. There are additional effects in the sequel that weren’t found in the original, like fog and lighting. These help in creating a creepy environment, but one that could’ve been better realized.

There is a semblance of a story here, but one that doesn’t have much of a payoff. Each room has different theme to span different parts of the world, and different decades. There is a single note in each room from the same person. We never really learn who that person is, or why he or she writes to you. The upper echelon of puzzle games like “Braid,” or “Limbo” receive their praise because of a narrative that drives the gameplay. “The Room 2” is lacking in this regard.

The story may be lacking, but the gameplay fully delivers. Each puzzle is more intricate than anything found in the original game. The chapters feature puzzles involving multiple objects scattered around the room. You have to find and use each object to find the final solution to move forward.

The gameplay only spans about three hours, but it’s satisfying time spent by the end. A game of this nature seems like a good fit for easter eggs or hidden secrets, but I couldn’t find any. Maybe they can add some in “The Room 3” for the iPad Molecule in 2015.

 

8 out of 10

Pros:

Impressive use of atmosphere
Satisfying puzzles

Cons:

Bareboned story
Lack of replay value

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