Note: The Android version was used for this review. Played on a Google Nexus 7 (2012) running stock KitKat 4.4.2.
Fireproof Games’ 2012 puzzler The Room is one of my all-time favorite mobile titles. It’s one of the best examples of touch controls used expertly to interact with marvelously conceived puzzles. Everything was wrapped up in an enigmatic, atmospheric package with terrific visuals and sound design. When I heard that a sequel was planned for late 2013 (iOS) and early 2014 (Android), I knew it was going to be a must-buy.
The Room Two takes the successful formula of the original game and makes everything bigger. You’re no longer faced with just one intricately designed device, but with several that are intertwined throughout larger rooms. This change in scope is the biggest difference from the first game, with most of the core mechanics remaining the same. Fans of the first game will feel slightly disoriented at first, but will be immediately at home with the layered, waterfall-like gameplay.
I liked the variety of environments from room to room, and each of them has a distinct and memorable theme. They get progressively scarier, and Fireproof does an amazing job making your hairs stand on end through effective visuals, sound effects, and music. This game is best played with the lights off, headphones on, and the volume up. The Room was a more mysterious experience compared to The Room Two, which unlocks a door into the world of pure horror, and does so with aplomb.
The puzzle design itself is very solid, with the tactile feel and satisfying feedback that made the original game so memorable. With the rooms being larger and with more areas for the player to experiment with, I found that it made certain sequences too drawn-out and unfocused, requiring lots of back and forth navigation and repetition to solve. The original’s up-close-and-personal approach was highly engaging, where I quite literally felt like I was hypnotically falling deeper into each of its beautifully engineered creations. Here, things have shifted a little more towards a traditional first-person adventure game, albeit with superior, intuitive puzzle design and logic.
In terms of other features, Google Play and Game Center Achievements are supported, but they are story-based. Since the game is linear, you will unlock all of them through normal play. Cloud saves are a welcome inclusion, since I did have to wipe my Nexus 7 recently. It was nice being able to continue my adventure without losing progress. With the relative fragility of hard drive and flash storage, this should be a standard, non-premium feature for any handheld or console, and I’m very happy to see it being used more often for mobile games.
In the end, The Room Two is a worthy sequel. It does what most follow-ups do, by taking a successful formula, polishing it, and broadening its scope. It’s a wonderful experience slightly undone by making the player move around each room so much, but that doesn’t stop it from being one of the best games available on mobile.
Gameplay & Controls: B+