The Room series of puzzle games on mobile gadgets has constantly delivered a few of the greatest puzzle design in the business, mixed with a strong sense that you’re enjoying with bodily objects which have their very own weight and “really feel.” It was at all times the excellent setup for a VR game, and Fireproof Video games has delivered precisely that with The Room VR: A Dark Matter, out now on the Oculus retailer, Steam VR, and PlayStation VR.
What follows aren’t a series of escape rooms, precisely, however an exploration into the mysteries of lacking those that shortly shifts to a journey into the supernatural.
Whereas the earlier releases have largely targeted on singular puzzle containers or objects that steadily open up as you remedy the puzzles, The Room VR expands the idea additional, spreading puzzles round small environments at first — comparable to a tiny police station — earlier than increasing into locations like an ornate church that holds its personal series of secrets. Every setting has a set of scorching spots for you to stand in, go searching, seize objects to add to your stock, and check out to determine what’s happening and how to hold transferring ahead.
I can’t overstate the significance of virtual reality to how nicely this game works, and how craftily the team at Fireproof Video games discovered to work with viewpoint and scale to mess along with your expectations. Getting caught isn’t a problem, as a series of clues unlock with time should you fail to progress. These clues are designed to train you how to take into consideration these puzzles for future reference as a lot as how to remedy the explicit puzzle in entrance of you.
These are individuals who perceive the artwork of frustration and launch when it comes to puzzle design. Giving up to take a look at a clue at all times feels like a private failure and never a difficulty with the design itself. I’d typically really feel foolish about what I had missed, though one or two steps in a specific puzzle did make me marvel how I used to be supposed to discover a specific element. It’s not excellent, in different phrases, but it surely’s significantly better than simply about some other puzzle game launched in VR to date.
The Room VR can also be full of a lot good VR design that I barely observed all the issues it does nicely till I used to be in a position to interview considered one of the members of the improvement team. You may set the game to be performed whereas sitting or standing for accessibility causes. It’s unattainable to drop an merchandise and have to bend over to decide it again up off the flooring or have it roll away from you, and there aren’t any puzzles that require you to get all the approach down on the floor or to stretch up in your tiptoes.
That every one sounds limiting in some methods, however I by no means observed any of these choices till I used to be advised about them. The puzzles simply felt natural and enjoyable, and the intelligent design implies that more individuals get to play comfortably.
Fireproof Video games is operating on a a lot smaller scale than Valve Software program, clearly, however each firms appear to perceive good VR design on a degree that’s a step above most different studios in the business. Playing The Room VR alongside Half-Life: Alyx was a tremendous one-two punch of experiencing how acquainted genres can and will work when introduced over to VR.
Regardless of the excellent puzzle design and intelligent use of scale all through the game, my favourite facet of The Room VR could also be its sense of place. The normal tone of the game shifts shortly from the mysterious to the otherworldly to the ghastly, and that change is completed nearly solely by the design of every atmosphere itself, particularly when you start manipulating your environment to remedy every puzzle. There was at all times a way, as I threw levers, turned cranks, and even performed musical devices, that I used to be toying with powers and conditions far past my management, and that it might need been higher if I had simply turned this case down.
You’ll by no means discover stable solutions to the questions the story asks, however that’s beside the level: The Room VR traps you inside a splendidly cohesive world with inner logic that doesn’t have to play by the established guidelines of our reality. It forces you to assume your approach out of issues whereas better powers at all times appear proper round the corner. That is dread, disguised as a puzzle game, and VR has solely made it higher.
The Room VR: A Dark Matter is out now on the Oculus Store, Steam VR, and PlayStation VR. It’s playable on both Oculus Quest or tethered headsets. The game was reviewed with an early construct, after which a final copy, offered by Fireproof Video games, and performed on an Oculus Quest. Gaming Ideology has affiliate partnerships. These don’t affect editorial content material, although Gaming Ideology might earn commissions for merchandise bought by way of affiliate hyperlinks. You will discover further details about Polygon’s ethics coverage right here.