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The Room is an intensely challenging puzzle game with beautiful 3D graphics where the object is to unravel a mystery by opening steampunk-style boxes.
Though "opening boxes" may sound boring, with The Room, each box has several hidden secrets and clues that keep you engrossed, trying to find the right sequence of actions to open the box. There are dials to turn, complex safe combinations to figure out, hidden compartments that contain keys, and much more. You also have an inventory on the left where you store the various keys and other items you find as you search for a way to use them to open the box and discover what's inside. As you progress, you'll also find pages of a diary that fill in the storyline and provide clues to your mission. With so much of the game hinged on gesture-based trial and error, The Room simply sucks you in.
Part of what makes it so compelling are the amazing-looking visuals and the steampunk design of the boxes and various gadgets. The ornate, old-style puzzle boxes have gleaming metal dials, realistic wood grain, and the lighting effects and shadows really make you feel like you're working with real objects. Though you can get The Room on an Android mobile phone, I highly recommend playing on a tablet just so you can appreciate the work that went into the look and overall feel of the game.
The Room isn't just about the visuals, though. The sound design is excellent, with each gear whirring and old wood creaking as you pull open a drawer. You can hear creepy music and howling wind as you work. The overall feel of both the audio and visuals are part of what makes this game great, but it's the complex and challenging puzzles that keep you coming back for more.
The only thing that can get a little annoying with The Room is the control scheme for viewing the box and zooming in on details. Though the swipe-to-rotate controls are as smooth as silk, the pinch gestures for zooming in and out can get a little frustrating. I'm not sure what the developers can do here to make it better, but just be warned that in some instances, it may not feel as smooth as you'd like. Also, the graphics on the Android version, while still impressive, appeared to be just a notch below those on the iOS version of the game.
The Room seemed like a port of some browser-based, point-and-click adventure to me when I first came across it. But now that I've tried it, I can tell you it is much more, and that just about anyone will enjoy piecing together the mystery as you try to figure out how to open each box.