A Box, A Room, A Puzzle | Touch and Go

A stunning addition to a series of truly immersive games, for players who aren’t afraid of the dark.

Immersive games have long held appsters enthralled and the latest addition to Fireproof Games’ “Room” series is another to recommend to older students who love a challenge. Andrea Lipinski reviews it below.

The Room (Fireproof Games, Ltd) was first released in 2012, and subsequent titles have been issued. The action in the apps primarily centers on solving a series of puzzles. Many are in the form of boxes that must be unlocked, while others incorporate different objects to be activated or opened. It’s a simple premise, but the games aren’t.

In each game, the player is tracking a mysterious figure that has left clues behind in the form of letters and puzzles. Viewers aren’t sure of this person’s motivations or character, but follow along listening for the satisfying clicks and thunks that let them know they’ve solved another piece of yet another puzzle. The challenges wait in various locations: a study, on a boat, or perhaps, in a room where séances were once held. Gamers study locked boxes and peer at cryptic clues through a very unusual eyepiece, while listening to a haunting soundtrack and watching dust motes fall slowly through the air. These are not games to play while standing on line at the store, at the beach, or anywhere there might be distractions. Viewers will want to play them alone, at home, with headphones on, and the lights as low as nerves allow. They apps are visually stunning, atmospheric, often creepy—and sometimes downright frightening.

The latest game in the series, The Room: Old Sins (iOS $4.99, Android $4.99; Gr 7 Up), is in several ways more contained and more linear than its predecessors. Players explore an old house where a husband and wife have disappeared under mysterious circumstances. A dollhouse in the attic appears to contain clues to their disappearance, leading viewers to open and explore its various rooms in the hope of discovering what happened to the couple. As in the other games, the hints are invaluable, particularly because players might not always make the intuitive leap between the object they just discovered and the room where it belongs. Unusual and ethereal sounds and music are characteristic of the series, but in this game there is also one puzzle that will require players to listen carefully to spoken words in order to discover clues.

Viewers are invited to create profiles for the app to share with friends and/or family who might be wondering why they were spending so much time playing this amazing, strange, and solitary game. A trailer is available. VERDICT A stunning addition to a series of truly immersive games, for players who love puzzles and aren’t afraid of the dark.—Andrea Lipinski, New York Public Library

For additional app reviews, visit School Library Journal’s dedicated app webpage.

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