mon 11/12/2017

The Room 3 | reviews, news & interviews

The Room 3

The Room 3

A tactile puzzle of ingenious construction

'Puzzling your way to the final Room can be done in a few hours if you stick at it'

The Room 3 is the latest in Fireproof Games' series of tactile puzzle games that invite you to twist, prod and rotate on-screen objects to reveal hidden secrets and activate devious mechanisms. It presents you with intriguing objects and devices that have concealed switches, hidden panels and features that you must find and manipulate in order to progress. Think a Fabergé egg, but with a superhuman level of detail and cunning in its construction.

A typical room (don't let the title fool you, there are several) might contain an antique radio that must be tuned in a certain way, using a tool you must find hidden behind the face of a clock, which only opens when the hands point to midnight, but only when you aim a beam of light on a crystal on its pendulum... and so on.

In the previous games, you had begun to uncover a mystery of potentially cosmic proportions with the tricksy little puzzle boxes giving way to devices that can influence the nature of reality itself. The Room 3 continues the story but with a greatly expanded play area comprising several locations, each with sub-rooms and hidden places to explore. For the first time in the series, completing a puzzle might require you to perform actions in several locations, leading to a small amount of backtracking that can be annoying, but which is thankfully not overdone.

The Room 3The plot is really just a way of explaining why someone went to the trouble of creating such bizarre puzzles but your new antagonist, "The Craftsman", is a nice addition to the game and adds a sinister note to proceedings. As you move around the game you will find scrolls with scribbled messages from The Craftsman, some of which encourage you to keep exploring while others hint that doing so might not be in your best interests.

The puzzles are as tough but logical as ever and the hint system is very well calibrated to give you just the help you need but no more. The game engine is very well thought-out and objects almost always behave as you would expect when touched. There is something very satisfying about turning a key in a lock with the twist of a fingertip or realising that you can use two fingers to slide switches on opposite ends of a table simultaneously.

If there's one complaint, it is that the eyepiece, which in earlier games was used to reveal hidden messages or invisible mechanisms, now works more like a sort of teleporter and makes some puzzles feel more contrived and  less "real" than the classic mechanical puzzles of the original. One of the real joys of the first game was in discovering just how much could be packed into a small cabinet, or how well a keyhole might be hidden in plain sight. The puzzles here seem slightly less intricate in some instances, and you are often pushed on to the next area after solving just a few of them rather than mulling over the same object for hours on end.

Puzzling your way to the final Room can be done in a few hours if you stick at it but there are several alternative endings to be discovered which require you to find hidden artefacts and place them just so. These endings don't have any hints so you will need to use all your powers of lateral thinking if you are to find them all.

@stuarthoughton

There is something very satisfying about turning a key in a lock with the twist of a fingertip

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Explore topics

Share this article

Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters