Ambitious title pulls it off without a hitch
AH, the off-season. When Christmas becomes a forgotten memory, the turn of the year loses its charm and the cogs of routine begin to turn once again. A time of year, when in the abscence of consumer demand, the video game industry spits out naught but mobile games and downloadable titles.
The Room Two is one such game, its predecessor reviewed in this column during another time when my expectations were low, setting up both games to be fairly pleasant surprises.
Rather than coast along happily on the first game's success, The Room Two expands, develops and improves on virtually every aspect of The Room.
The most immediate difference between the two games is the rooms themselves. In the original, they're little more than a creepy backdrop for its mostly self-contained puzzle boxes, where you search the nooks and crannies for solutions.
The Room Two expands into more fully formed environments. Moving a piece on one side of the room may unlock a key that, in turn, unlocks a treasure chest on the other side of the room.
The expanded scope can become dizzying, as the later stages have so many parts and pieces that it was easy to forget where I last saw a certain symbol or puzzle or where the latest clue may fit. Other times may see you immobilized by choice, where you aren't sure where to start first, or which direction you'll take your investigation next.
If only the plot itself was so well thought-out. The story is told in a style that really doesn't allow you to become immersed in the tales. You'll find random notes and pages strewn around in a disjointed fashion, something that becomes just a little irritating, rather than informative.
All of those improvements are wrapped around a core experience that's extremely tactile. The way the objects respond to your touch are subtle, but it feels like reaching into a window and manipulating real objects.
The audio design reinforces this feeling beautifully, with small touches like the sounds of wood clacking, metal latches springing, and the clockwork mechanisms shifting inside as puzzles shift to form and reveal new ones.
A hugely ambitious title that pulls it off almost without a hitch. Not just a 'good game for an iPad', but actually a very enjoyable, very creepy title that easily stands on its own merits.