Towards the end of 2012, I was taking long train journeys on a regular basis. I had exhausted most of the games on my Apple iPad and needed a new addition to my device. I scanned the app store and nothing caught my eye. Meanwhile, I already owned most of the games my friends were recommending.
One night, I was watching the BAFTA Game Awards. A smartphone and tablet game I had never heard of before was sweeping all the major awards. It won the Apple iPad Game Of The Year gong and took home the Best British Video Game prize. The game was called ‘The Room’.
Immediately, I paid the small £1.99 fee and installed it on my device. I couldn’t wait to see what it was like. I could barely contain my excitement. it must be incredible if it won so many big awards. When the installation had finished, I opened up the game, and what I found was… a locked box in a room? Surely that couldn’t be it? I scrolled around, zoomed in, zoomed out, scrolled around some more. ‘This game won the BAFTA award for Best British Video Game?’ I thought.
12 hours later I was sat on that aforementioned train commute and I couldn’t put the game down. I had become completely obsessed with finding out what was in the locked box that sat so mysteriously in this room. ‘The Room’ challenges you with puzzle after puzzle to solve the enigma and crack the box open. You must find clues hidden on the walls, under tables, and on the box itself. Crack the clues and you find secret compartments. The secret compartments contain weird items. You then have to figure out what to do with the items. Every time you feel you’re getting closer to opening the box, another challenge presents itself.
‘The Room’ eventually lived up to my initial expectations. It’s a puzzle game that is genuinely challenging, requiring intelligence and patience to put together all the clues and crack the mystery. But the game design is so brilliant that it never becomes frustrating. Each mystery is as fascinating as it is complex. When you finally crack it, it’s simultaneously a huge relief and sad to see it end.
I became completely engrossed by the game. It’s a room that once I’d entered I just couldn’t leave.
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