Tuesday, October 23

Review: The Room [Nintendo Switch eShop]


If you’ve never heard of The Room (no, not the awful movie) I’m not sure what rock you’ve been under, as it is a puzzle game series that did extremely well in the tablet space and has finally come to Switch. Granted, it is part of a series, and it’s likely the rest will be coming to the console as well. In addition, the experience isn’t terribly long and with the exception of a separation of quite some time (months or years) replayability wouldn’t likely prove satisfying. That said, the intricacy of the puzzles and its somewhat eerie style do help make it easy to see why it has been so successful.


While playing docked with the Switch pointer controls is possible I wouldn’t recommend it… at all. This isn’t a criticism I throw at the feet of the developers so much as Nintendo though. The issues with the pointer controls floating quickly and horribly are consistent across all titles that use them, though perhaps the degree of the issue could vary. In handheld mode not only can you work with the touchscreen but you’re able to use some of the buttons effectively, perhaps leaving the door open to a hybrid control style that you could experiment with to find what suits you best. In general you’ll need a mix of fine control, making circles to turn objects, and the patience to move objects around and zoom in on them as you search for details.


What has made the game and the series remain relevant even years after its initial release is the quality and variety in its puzzles. These are layered and often elaborate mechanisms requiring that you slowly manipulate a variety of pieces and discover the clues that are hidden about to slowly reveal solutions. Given that at times what you need to do next isn’t always immediately clear there is in-game help but I recommend you try to avoid the use of it or strategy guides, the space for each puzzle isn’t terribly large and with patience and a careful eye for details with another sweep or two you can typically identify the piece you’ve been missing.


While I would have preferred that they’d bundled all of the titles for this series together and let you buy them together. Instead, it appears the plan is to release them one by one (maybe once they’re all done then we’ll see a bundle) and though the price is a pretty reasonable one it’s worth noting the game is available on pretty well any touchscreen device and probably cheaper. Assuming the reason you haven’t already gotten it elsewhere is that the Switch is your preferred device, just keep in mind that though its physical controls offer some added convenience there’s nothing else clearly pointing to this version being superior. That said, I’d say that any self-respecting puzzle fan should buy at least one iteration of this series, as its stellar reputation for quality is well-deserved.


Score: 8.5

Pros:
  • The puzzles look fabulous and are full of surprises
  • While help is easily available it shouldn’t typically prove necessary if you’re patient and take your time
  • The physical controls compliment the touchscreen well, allowing you to develop your own ideal mix of the two

Cons:
  • There’s minimal story involved and overall the runtime isn’t terribly long
  • Some solutions have cues hidden about to lead you to a solution but others can be a bit random
  • Abundantly available on other platforms, with the Switch version making no compelling case for being the best one to get