When it first launched, The Room caught me by surprise. As the debut title of an unknown studio, the carefully paced puzzle game brought a fresh experience to the iPad. But there was something more to it: an intricate tale of arcane mysticism that refused to be fully unmasked.
Since then, Fireproof Games’ initial offering has made it to both iPhone and Android, and I’d strongly recommend it. Meanwhile, I’ve been desperately craving a sequel. The original took me deep into a rabbit hole, but left me with a collection of questions about the world I’d fallen into. With a sequel on the horizon, I was eagerly anticipating some answers.
After going hands-on with an early version of The Room Two at Eurogamer Expo, those unanswered questions are still there. Even so, while Fireproof don’t seem in any hurry to peel away those layers of immersion, it’s very evident that the puzzles have evolved.
The setting is still somewhat familiar, with tinges of clockwork horror making me think of a place between Thirteen Ghosts and Cabin in the Woods. Hovering between an eerie calm and unsettling spookiness, The Room had you investigating the strange disappearance of a friend engaged in unorthodox research. The Room Two sees you continue on that trail, with each solved puzzle pushing you further on a haunting journey.
With The Room, puzzles were squarely focused on trying to crack open a box on a desk. While the same is true in The Room Two, much more of the environment comes into play. A memorable part saw me trying to assemble a crossbow in order to trigger another mechanism, while another involved aiming beams of light. Instead of just being an ornate cube to contain the puzzle, each room is an active element of it.
From what I saw of each room, they also seem to be hinting at a story. With the change from masonry to sculpted stone, it feels like the environment is trying to push a narrative of its own. I think my only fear is that the The Room Two becomes obsessed with finding hidden objects, rather than working out how to open a lock.
As I was rotating keys and sliding switches, I was reminded just how good The Room is at using the iPad’s touchscreen interface. Unlike other games that rely purely on pokes and prods, natural gestures are used to interact with most of the puzzles. A drawer might have to be pulled open, or a bolt slid into place. Besides underlining that immersion, it makes The Room Two intuitive to play.
I’m told that The Room Two should be launched later this year. After this brief taster, I can’t wait.