The Room Two (2) is finally released today, December 12th. I finished the app in around 5 hours, just like the Room 1. Here’s a quick review of how version 1 compares with The Room Two and if it’s worth your money. Should I buy The Room Two?
Quick summary of negative opinions on The Room Two:
- The puzzles in The Room Two make less sense as the game develops.
- The ending feels rushed.
- Loses the Lovecraftian atmosphere as the game develops, weak story and some poor writing.
- With all the above faults points The Room Two still shines like the diamond that it is.
The puzzles and furniture in The Room Two still have the click and clack sound you love from the Room. There’s still the undertones of Lovecraft in the background but not as much. Everything is wood and cogs and the puzzles are never too difficult. It’s all 95% of the way to a awesome experience…but it falls short. Now this is short, but just a little. It’s no where close to a failure, but it’s not the awe inspiring performance that was the original Room.
The story is the first issue I have. The visuals in The Room Two are still top of the class. Crisp and clean on the new iPad mini retina display. The story is messy and told through letters, of which there are too many. The original The Room had a beautifully crafted Lovecraftian vibe to everything. The letters, the storyline, it all tied together and had the magic of coherence that sent shivers down your spine. The Room Two by contrast has letters, and hence a story, that a modern writer has written.
The Room Two has none of the extended verbiage of HP Lovecraft that makes you feel the unsettling creepiness of everything around you. And since story is such a big part of the experience it’s a big letdown when you read something that looks scrawled together over a coffee break. The overarching story of the whole game is also lacking in depth or coherence. The original The Room had you moving from room to room delving deeper into the depths of your Uncles home, in the Room 2 you’re taken from room to room just because.
Then you have the rooms. The rooms are great and each has a theme, and it’s spoiler time so look away if you want to play through yourself first. My favourite room was the seance, really the only level that maintained an unsettling vibe and had a great underlying story to the room itself. Other rooms I were: The ship room, the Egyptian room and the lab. There’s also the first level called “The crypt”. Five rooms in total, each around an hour long.
The Puzzles in the Room Two are mostly easy. I was never challenged. There were times I did not know what to do next. Like a switch hidden on the side of a drawer you can not see. The hints that were added after The Room was released do spoil the struggle and sense of achievement of cracking a tough nut.
The Room Two continues the use of old time furniture and equipment. Really nice to see that and with the touch and tap control scheme it felt real. Lab battery charger and Typewriter in the Seance stand out as particularly memorable contraptions.
The last few rooms in The Room Two start to lose coherence in the puzzles. You’ll ask yourself why collecting insects opens a drawer. I felt a fetch quest vibe that I did not like, especially for the end of the game which should be well paced and jaw dropping.
Which brings me nicely to the end of the review. Lack of jaw dropping ending in The Room Two. When you play the original The Room your jaw drops when that final table opens. You didn’t want the game to end, and it doesn’t, 3 times in a row as that table opens up revealing more and more juicy puzzles, each more difficult than the last. It was an experience that left your mind racing long after the game was over. You wanted to play again. There’s nothing like that in The Room Two.
The Room Two is 5 hours long for a single play through. For $5, the app is right at the limit of being worth it. Which is probably why you’re looking at this review. So here’s my final recommendations:
If $5 is throw away money for you then buy.
- It will inevitably be on sale in a few months for $3, if you don’t mind waiting then you could save $2.
- And of course, when The Room Three is released it will be on the Apple app store for free.
- I paid $5 for The Room Two. I feel it’s a $3 app. I also feel the original The Room was worth the $5 I spent on it. The extra $2 would come from a better Lovecraftian vibe in the writing and a jaw dropping finale.
Overall, I give The Room Two a review score of 4.5/5. It’s still the 2013 Nerdr Puzzle Game of the Year because puzzle games have been weak this year. For comparison last years The Room was a clear winner with 5/5.
Leave a comment with your thoughts.