LATEST iPHONE PREVIEWS
Hands-on with point-and-click horror sequel The Room 2
By Harry Slater 30 September 2013
The Room 2 | Developer:
Fireproof Games | Publisher:
Fireproof Studios | Format:
Android, iPhone, iPad | Genre:
There's something uniquely feverish about The Room 2. Even in the neon-bright sensory onslaught of the Eurogamer Expo, Fireproof's iOS sequel manages to fill a little corner with Victorian gloom.
I slip on a pair of headphones and the crackle and buzz of the crowd dulls to a mutter. The first thing I notice about the game is the number of plinths. This room has two boxes, two separate puzzles to try and solve.
The controls are identical to the original, in that there aren't really any controls. You swipe and prod at the boxes, twisting levers and pushing buttons to solve puzzles and unlock deeper layers of the labyrinthine constructs.
The sense of unease that permeated each twist and pull of the original is magnified here. There are sudden sparks of shock, like cracks into some other universe that flare for a second to creep and unsettle before disappearing.
The first chunk of the demo is a prologue, and so my pokes and prods are guided for a little while. Even still, when the help ends the game is as tough as it ever was, and it still holds to that rhythm of exploration and revelation.
I'm stuck for a little while trying to find a shape to place in one of the tables, and a hint suggests I look on the other table in the room. Of course, this being The Room it's a literal suggestion, and the piece I need is hidden on an edge of the stone plinth I haven't checked yet.
Shock and awe
With the main chunk of the tutorial completed the game takes a turn for the sinister. A stone angel leaps out at me holding what looks like a futuristic egg timer. I twist it around, and a doorway appears - albeit a doorway that looks to be weeping black blood.
The next part of the demo features a crossbow, a golden mirror, and a mini-game that's a cross between chequers and a block sliding puzzle. And everywhere there are hints of some wider world.
Messages left in dirt, fronds of greenery, objects that serve a purpose beyond puzzling the player. Fireproof has expanded the scope of the original game exponentially, and what was once a room now feels more like a series of connections, gateways that push you on.
Where before progression was found in the shrinking, reshaping puzzle box that dwelt at the very centre of everything, here you actually move from place to place, manipulating new shapes and discovering new secrets.
Room for more
It'll be interesting to see whether or not Fireproof can keep the focus of the original in this expanded setting, but this 20-minute glimpse suggests that a lot of the magic that set the first game apart has been retained.
As I pull off the headphones and gingerly tease my hunched frame off the tiny stool I've been sat on, the bright lights of the expo floor have lost some of their lustre.
Like its predecessor, The Room 2 looks set to be excellent at creeping into the real world. And you can't ask much more of a game than that.