The Room

December 24, 2019
Developer: Fireproof Games
Publisher: Fireproof Games, Team17
Platform: Nintendo Switch

Not to be confused with the cult favorite movie of the same name, The Room is a clever—if rather short—puzzle game. It was originally released on iOS, followed by Android and PC, but I didn't hear of it until it made its way to the Switch. It happened to be on sale recently, so being a fan of point-and-clicks, I figured I'd give it a shot. I was not disappointed.

Controls Like a Charm

The controls are fantastic. It may seem simple and straightforward—really, how many ways could a point-and-click adventure control?—but with many ports, this is not the case. The Switch has a touch screen, which is the obvious choice for control scheme (since you are directly pointing and "clicking"), but pretty much every game I've played has left me at a loss when it comes to the big screen. The Room, however, remedies this problem in a way that other ports of the genre do not bother to: You can choose to play with a single Joy-con, pointing at the screen and using the buttons to zoom in and out and manipulate objects. There is also a Captain Toad-style feature to re-center the cursor which can be used at any time. This means you can rest your wrist in just about any position you want, which seems simple, but really smooths things out. When using the touch screen, you double-tap to zoom in and pinch to zoom out, which may be slightly awkward at first for many people, but it's by no means difficult to master.

Manipulation of objects feels wonderful: keys turn as they should, switches slide out of the way with a satisfying, almost tactile feel, and buttons click just like they would if you were really there. Rotating, zooming, and manipulating objects is never a chore. You can also inspect certain objects and complete small puzzles within those objects: for example, rotating pieces of a key to match a certain shape. This is done enough to keep things interesting but never so much that it becomes obnoxious.

Keeping it Simple

The plot is simple, but straightforward. A character (an alchemist?) has discovered a new element, called "Null". The entire game is spent solving an intricate series of puzzle boxes to discover more about the element and just what it means for the world.

The Room is never overly challenging. There are a few segments where you might get stuck for a few moments, but there is a generous hint system (which can be turned off at any time) that gives you a nudge or three in the right direction. I did use the hints at first, but by the second or third chapter they were largely unnecessary. The only time I got truly stuck was when I didn't realize I had to zoom in one more level to rotate an object; on top of that, the hint provided for the puzzle also referred to the object using a term I had never heard before, but probably should have. This was really just user error and I can hardly fault the game for it.

Short & Sweet

This game can probably be finished in an hour or two your first time through, and surely under 30 minutes once you know what you're doing. While it seems very short, I think that if the game was much longer it would overstay its welcome—often, point-and-clicks begin to repeat puzzles after a while with different coats of paint. Plot is not a critical factor to me, but in The Room the narrative gets the point across as much as it needs to. There is nothing bad to say about the music, and the sounds and art are both great and fit the aesthetic well.

The ending of the game heavily implies that there is plenty more to come. There are currently three sequels for iOS, but I do not have an iPhone or Mac so I haven't (and probably won't) get to play them unless they come to PC or Switch.

I have no real significant complaints about this game. It's simply a well-done, captivating point-and-click that does its job very well.

Final Rating