Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Room Two Review

Note: this blog has been migrated to Medium, with the articles here available to preserve permalinks. Please see this post at https://medium.com/@ianrbuck/the-room-two-review-f5412142bd58#.zf0wy19om

If The Room was a good proof-of-concept for what a premium game should look like on mobile, The Room Two took that concept and perfected it. Nearly everything about it improves on the foundation that the original laid down. In a lot of ways it reminds me of my impressions of the first two Assassin's Creed games. We had never seen anything quite like the original, and I finished thinking it was a pretty good game; then the second comes along and suddenly I realized that it was the game the original should have been all along.

As in its predecessor, The Room Two tasks you with solving physical puzzles. The original was limited to opening various types of safes, but The Room Two takes it several steps farther. Most of the rooms you find yourself in contain several different objects to interact with. Each provides pieces that are required to solve different parts of the others. That addition alone makes the game five times more interesting. It also means that most chapters are longer than the chapters in the original. There are also several more chapters, so all told it takes about twice as long to complete.
The visuals are also vastly improved. Not only are the textures all high enough resolution to not be distracting, they added little touches like motion blur when zooming from one part of a room to another and little particle effects. I thought the particle effects were a little much, but they never got in the way of being able to solve the puzzles.
Speaking of puzzles, I thought they were better designed this time around. There were several times in The Room where I got so stuck that I had to read all of the hints to understand what was expected of me. It may have been the result of already being in the correct mindset, but I only ever had to read the first clue this time around. There were times when I struggled for a while, but otherwise it would have been too easy.
I mentioned the creepy vibe I felt in the original. In The Room Two they took that vague sense of unease and did the best they could to turn it into a horror game. There is only so much they could do given that the player only has the ability to look around a room (don't expect any chase scenes). But they did an excellent job creating creepy environments and using jump scares to keep me on my toes. There were even a few times I thought I saw something out of the corner of my eye, but when I looked nothing was there.
I think they have it out for Doctor Who fans.

I got sucked in so much that I sat down yesterday and just plowed through half of the game, which is rare these days. I highly recommend it, and I feel comfortable saying that it is worth $5, though of course it is being sold for less. Go play it on Android, iOS, or Kindle.