The Room 2 Hands-On Preview

Last year’s The Room from Fireproof Games was a smash success, generating over a million paid downloads and earning the honor of Apple’s iPad Game of the Year. It’s an intricate puzzle game, featuring a realistically rendered safe with dozens of clockwork latches and hidden compartments. Next week, Fireproof Games will release The Room 2, and we can tell they’ve taken this compelling concept even further.

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The Room 2′s storytelling is subtle and mysterious. You’ll find short letters and journal entries that hint at a reason for these complex locks and puzzle boxes, but it’s not clear what their creator’s intentions were. It’s a bit like Myst or Riven, but with a focus on fine details instead of grand landscapes.

The controls are very straightforward: You can navigate around each room by swiping, tapping, and pinching to zoom in or out. This is especially important when you focus on an object like a plain-looking box, because you’ll often have to turn it around to look at each side, edge, and corner. ¬†Keys and clues are hidden within every facet of the game’s virtual objects, so if you’ve played the first game, you know to leave no stone unturned.

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The mystic spyglass from the first game returns as well, which will illuminate certain surfaces, revealing additional passwords and locks. Often these discoveries will be accompanied by a jarring change in the soundtrack, which, we’ll admit, startled us more than once. Played with a good set of headphones in a quiet, darkened room, The Room 2′s highly detailed graphics and engrossing mystery create its own unique kind of suspense.

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Just when you think you’ve solved the last puzzle, The Room 2 introduces you to brand-new environments. In addition to a plain set of stone podiums, we played through a room containing cannons, nautical-themed puzzles, and a handsome model ship, followed by a South American jungle full of artifacts and runes.

If you thought The Room was amazing, you won’t be disappointed by the sequel. Fireproof Games has perfected the atmospheric puzzle game genre, and the gorgeous visuals will regularly fool your brain into thinking you’re playing with real objects that contain almost magical properties. The Room 2 will be available for iPad next week for $4.99, so check back for our full review then.

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