The Room returns to the iPad with its next entry, Old Sins. Like before, simple motions are used to explore deeply complex, intricate and confusing environments. Puzzles await you, some simple, some requiring a complex series of actions and just the right perspective to solve. Everything that seems simple, isn’t. Everything that seems complex isn’t, once you’ve got the clues.
Starting out, I have to admit some confusion. Seeing a dolls house in an attic, I was wondering where this game was going, how it tied into the greater series known as The Room. As I started to solve its puzzles, first giving myself light to see it, I thought I knew where it was going. I was both stunningly wrong and right at the same time. Perhaps for the first time, the Room offers more obvious narrative cues and answers. What’s going on slowly unfolds in books, letters and a short cinematic of a couple arguing. Yet I still have so many questions, too many questions, which is a great credit to this title and series.
Waldegrave Manor is just as vast and complex an environment as was Grey Holm. Plenty of themed rooms await you, one given to Japan and the orient, to a maritime one. The garden, kitchen and art studio show the life that could have been lived by the people here. All of them have puzzles, all of them are linked together, parts found in one, used in another. All of this is to work towards breaking the seal, seeking what lies in the attic behind a seal.
As before, you’re given an eye piece, giving you access to a second sight. This reveals marks, signs of hands and warding marks abound. Some are there to deceive, trick and others are there to provide you with clues. All of these are used to build a set of puzzles. Some are short, brief and quite tricky. Others are more in depth, requiring you to mirror features, to work through screens. Others are multilayered, requiring not only a change in perspective, but the right parts too.
The parts of these puzzles, like before, are wonderfully detailed. Some of them go through a few different states and forms. Each visually unique, working out when it’s complete, solved and not, takes time to learn. While not wishing to give too much away, this is perhaps the game which has the most false leads, the most designed to slow you down. All of which is explained in the many letters, you can find.
To my surprise, I found items that I would have expected to only see in the previous title make an appearance. As I progressed, watched as rooms darkened, I knew I was getting closer to my goal, but each step forward was one I wasn’t sure was towards a good or safe end. Like before, this game played with my sense of perception, of things within things, within things, within things, again.
Just as before, all this game takes are simple swipes, taps and touches. The controls for this game are so organic it’s hard to make an incorrect move. Exploring is just so easy, you can jump from one to room to another in seconds. Even shaping, interacting with the component pieces, it was hard to make a mistake. When you’ve got a complex set of steps, it’s so easy to try what you want.
Audio and Visuals
This game just gets better and better with each release. Here you’re first greeted with a dolls house, clearly incomplete but the start of your journey, adventure. For such an item, it’s wonderfully detailed. Their detail in the rooms, the walls, the rooms within is just amazing. From the art on the walls and puzzles, everything helps tell this story of hunting the Null and the price it has. After so many games, it’s now clear the Null is something more dangerous than you thought it was.
With the sound it’s just as wonderfully and deliberately chosen. There’s a background sound that just takes you there, to this place. Each of the rooms have their own feel. Each of the rooms have their own sounds, the crackling in the radio and the voices, few and scattered as they are. You know when you’ve advanced, solve a room by the sound and music. You know when your transition from one part to another, you know what you’ve done by the sound of it.
The Room as a series always improves with each new title. From the first being a deeply complex puzzle box, to a series of interconnected locations, to the third with its over-world. The fourth reveals plenty of answers but still leaves you with so many questions. The atmosphere is there, the music is there, and puzzles leave you wonder and checking everything around you. Simple controls and a simple premise is woven together for a perfect game. If I have any recommendations is that you play this on the iPad over any other device. The bigger the screen, the better. I also have to recommend headphones, to amplify the sound and music.