I loved The Room. The original puzzler by Fireproof Studios had me sucked into its world, and never let me go until I was able to beat it. The sequel? Not so much.
iOS gamers have been waiting months for a sequel to The Room. In my review of the first game, I praised its ingenuity and design. The intricate and complex puzzles had me hooked from the start. Even the prelude Fireproof released for the original, a teaser of sorts for the upcoming sequel, was fun to play. So why wasn't I thrilled with the second part of what looks to be an ongoing franchise?
Simply put -- I was bored.
If I knew the story, I'd be happy to tell you. I know as much about it as I do the original. Something about time, space and the null and experiments gone wrong. Whatever. That's not why I play these games. I would have liked a cohesive story, but the ending left me with more questions than answers. Maybe that's the developer's intent. To suck you in and then Matrix you.
No, the "plot" was fine. I was used to the mumbo jumbo from the first installment. What pissed me off was The Room Two does nothing new. And I mean nothing. It's the same game as the first one. Enter a chapter (there are six, though one is so short you can't even count it as a chapter), and then proceed to try and figure out how to leave the room. Most puzzles will start with whatever is directly in front of you, usually a table or box. Double tap the iPad to zoom in, pinch to zoom out. Tap to collect an item. You've got slots on the left side of the screen for your inventory. Same as the first game. Find an item and examine it closely. Sometimes the items themselves are puzzles you must solve. Same as the first game.
Once again you have your eyepiece that use to see things in the room that you can't with the naked eye. Once again, same as the first game. The graphics are stunning, and the use of some items as puzzles like a pirate ship and typewriter are fun and clever to look at. When you're in a chapter, you'll be moving back and forth from one area to another inside the same room. Unlock an item in the pirate ship, and pinch out. Then swipe over to the treasure chest on the floor and see if the item can be used on it. You'll eventually figure out every puzzle because of the game's extremely linear nature.
If you get stuck, there's a hint system in the upper left corner. I recommend turning this off. You'll hear a ping sound when the game thinks you're stuck. Tap on the question mark to receive a clue how to proceed. If the first clue wasn't enough, eventually they'll give you enough hints, telling you exactly what to do next. I don't mind a hint system, but when it's pinging at you as you're actually solving the puzzle, it can be annoying. You're not even given enough time to figure out your next step before the hint system pings, ready to take you by the hand and show you the way. Leave the hint system on and you'll beat The Room Two in no time flat. So turn it off if you'd like some challenge.
But even without the hints, the game itself isn't very difficult. You know the routine by now. Find an item, then move around the room until you see something that the item goes into. Use your eyepiece to discover things you may be missing. The original Room's puzzles, even with the hints, were detailed and complex. But the sequel? I breezed right through it.
Easy, hard -- Fireproof did nothing new, which is the saddest part of the entire experience. You don't use your iPad's accelerometer. You don't use the microphone for anything. Sound means nothing. You can play with it muted. Everything is done with your iPad flat on the table and your fingers to pinch and zoom and tap. Bleh. Sequels usually suck in movies, not in video games. I wonder if the developers shot their creative wad with the first and made the sequel on an empty tank. I was hoping for a more expanded and creative universe, not six chapters of me stuck in different tiny rooms. Take this bad boy outside to crazy locations! I had some hope that there were different endings, but nope. An easy puzzle takes you to the final, and only, cinematic. You blew it fellas. You could have made me want to play through one more time, with the hope of new puzzles and endings. But you were lazy on that as well.
The graphics are great, the score is haunting and the touch controls are responsive. No complaints there. But all of that means nothing if you're not hooked. And I was far from hooked. Hopefully Fireproof can take The Room Three in an exciting and new direction, with new and creative ways to solve each puzzle. After beating the game, there was one puzzle I couldn't solve -- why The Room Two was such a disappointment.
App Store Link: The Room Two for iPad | By Fireproof Studios | Price: $4.99 | Version: 1.0.1 | 272 MB | Rating 9+