It’s been a long road for Fireproof Games and the latest instalment of The Room series. After one or two shifts of the release date in order to polish and perfect this consistently enchanting adventure, fans around the world (including us) were completely surprised when The Room: Three suddenly launched on November 4th.
As soon as the opportunity became available, I threw on some headphones and immersed myself in the often spooky world of the Craftsman.
You Have A Visitor…
The beginning of The Room: Three opens with you occupying a vacant train carriage with your trusty journal within arm’s reach. The next few taps and swipes serve as a tutorial to ease any newcomers into the controls. After a quick glance at some of your notes, the train plunges into a tunnel with the audible thudding of train tracks and wind striking your eardrums. It’s at this point we experience our first close encounter with a ghostly apparition sat directly in front of you. He disappears upon departure of the tunnel. All that remains is the box in front of you.
After spotting the game at EGX REZZED 2015, I definitely noticed the extra polish that had been keeping Fireproof Games busy, and oh boy was it worth the wait. The environments, graphics and sound design, all orchestrate a chilling and cinematic score to your adventure. The previous games has you embark on your first puzzle solving quest only to be tossed into the unknown, and sent through time and space in the second outing.
The Room: Three feels like a real chase. There is an explanation to the crazy invisible drawings that engulf the papers in your briefcase, and the Craftsman wants you as his apprentice. You’re now on his turf. You must prove yourself worthy by navigating the locked rooms of the mysterious mansion in the third outing, and solve his cruel, progressively complex contraptions. He may resist the temptation to abandon you forever.
These storytelling tactics drew me into the universe of The Room on a level that has been set higher with each release. I could feel the burn in my chest switching between calm simmers and fierce flames after completing the tasks and taking a step closer to my destiny. The thrill of the chase is found in surprising yourself and outsmarting the antagonist.
Box x Puzzle + Box = Boxception
Returning players will understand the significance of cracking the codes to multiple sized boxes and obtaining small interactive objects which can reveal clues or items to completing the larger complicated puzzles. These mechanics make a welcome return with proficient detail applied to the miniatures appearing in the inventory on a frequent comfortable basis.
As puzzles go, The Room series has always allowed me to feel like a genius. That is of course before grinding through the minor frustrations of trying to figure out which item matches a cryptic quote or providing power to aesthetically Victorian style artifacts using all manners of switches and dials. It’s these “Eureka!” moments that reward your patience, careful thinking and attention to detail.
The experience never felt complicated, these include the steps taken to solve the puzzles themselves. The code cracking now expands over multiple rooms with some entwined within the environment, combining the series’ tapping swiping and rotating, and new multi gestures you will always need to think “Outside of the box” in the instance you feel there is something missing from the equation.
Each sequence incorporates enough mystery and technicality to balance the difficulty curve which, receives its own shot in the arm with the upgraded eyeglass. Expanding upon its ability to reveal hidden messages and tasks, the new iteration can shrink you down to solve minute puzzles such as picking a lock. Identifying the right time to use the eyeglass will also save a lot of headaches, it’s hard to explain through writing, but you will know when the time is right, the context of these specific puzzles give you the smallest lead until the moment of realization sets in.
The Room: Three is often regarded as the go-to mobile experience for anybody with a smartphone or tablet. The sheer skill and talent from Fireproof Games which has been devoted to the series, demonstrating that near photo-realistic visuals, a carefully written and paced storyline cemented with some ingenious puzzle design is absolutely possible on the devices we carry with us today.
Another perhaps, overlooked small touch such as the new shallow depth of field contributes to the mounting eye candy the game throws at you with every swipe. The journey throughout feels like a lucid dream thanks to the smooth room navigation which, convey their own elegant persona by gracing your ears with shallow wisps of air during the flight from the corners of your dark solitary confinement.
Let’s go back near to the start where you wind up in the spooky mansion, another example of building a fantastic living breathing world. The echoing, booming atmospheric sound is not just for show, in fact it helps to create a bigger world than what is seen on the screen. This psychological involvement continues to impress and amaze me by unlocking parts of your own imagination with further emphasis drawn out by squeaking rodents, dragging feet and somber ghoulish voices.
If you are new to The Room series, I highly recommend you purchase the first two games to obtain a better understanding of the story. Heading into the third release blind will not allow you to appreciate the universe which Fireproof have created, the first section of the game does act as a tutorial for new players and a hint system is in place if you are in a rush however, multiple endings provide great value to relive the journey over and over again.
Returning players will be sucked in all over again with the absolutely stellar production and the consistent resemblance to the classic Myst. This is not Myst however, The Room: Three sets a completely new standard of immersion, beauty and tells a story which have grown to last many hours, successfully delivered in a truly unique manner. This is an entirely new dimension to experiencing interactive narrative on our smaller screens with the heart and soul of blockbuster thrillers firing on every cylinder.
You can purchase The Room: Three on the AppStore now for $6