One room. One box. Fireproof’s latest game and extension to its Room series delivers exactly what it says on the puzzle encrypted box – and so much more. The beginning of the game will be familiar to fans of the franchise, but also comes with a handy tutorial for those who are not: the same style of sliding, opening and twisting your way to the centre of each box is the main form the puzzle solutions take. One difference from the original is the graphics – whilst they are still dark and atmospheric they have had a major face lift, with improved visual clarity and more detailed scenery. This adds to the magic and difficulty of the puzzles, as the enhanced gameplay makes for even more intricate answers to the game’s riddles. This also means that the game takes a little longer to solve – a major critical gripe of the first instalment was that it took perhaps a little over an hour to complete. The Room 2 doesn't vastly extend this time but it definitely is an improvement, taking around four hours to conquer.To cut the developers some slack, the game’s mysterious plotline lends itself to being played in short, concentrated bursts. The story continues the tale of ‘AS’, the cryptic protagonist of the first game. Once again any contact with him/her is through the medium of furtive notes left about each room for the player, each giving clues about the mysterious ‘null’ element and its properties. The storyline is full enough to be enjoyable but not too overbearing, keeping the focus firmly on the puzzle solving. Players can choose whether or not to pick up and read the notes, as each is marked with the same initials.
The story and puzzles alike are enhanced by the eerie yet fitting soundtrack. Mixed in with the familiar theme song from the first game is an orchestra of moody sound effects that really evoke each room: the waves of the ocean outside the ship sound like they might splash right through the screen; the singing of the tropical birds outside the temple conjure a huge, desolate rainforest setting. They really added something to the game as a whole, something that really needs to be enjoyed in a quiet place with a good set of headphones.
For the more puzzle-challenged players amongst you, there is a basic hint system, with up to three helpful hints being revealed the longer the player struggles to find something new to click on. However, the hints are at times so vague that they actually end up pushing you off course as you navigate each section of the room. The hints are linear and follow the natural story progression of the puzzles, despite the fact that the player can solve most of them in a different order, which can be confusing. This said, most times the hints do steer the solutions in the right direction and it was only occasionally that they managed to stray. All in all, The Room 2 is another Epic instalment in a chilling and somewhat haunting franchise that will stay with you long after completion. The Room Two is available on both iPad and iPhone now.