The Room has long been celebrated as an intelligent and thought-provoking puzzle series since its 2012 debut. Fireproof Games created a solid, mind-bending set of puzzles expertly crafted for mobile audiences that has carried on through two subsequent sequels: The Room Two, and now, The Room Three. The latest follows in the ingenious franchise’s footsteps, delivering a challenging experience that will have players scratching their heads and reveling in the solutions to the enigmas that await within.
The Room Three picks up where the previous two games left off narrative-wise, though you don’t have to have enjoyed those titles prior to navigating this one. For the uninitiated, The Room follows the research of a mysterious individual who’s been tracking a fifth element: The Null. The Null exists outside the four Classical Elements: Fire, Earth, Water, and Air. The Room Three builds on the secrets and information wrought from prior games and allows for several different endings that can be uncovered as you play. The addition of the Craftsman, the “antagonist” you’ll be up against as you uncover secrets and solve puzzles, makes for an unsettling atmosphere that pushes you forward to keep going.
The narrative isn’t the main focus here, however. The story is but a minor cog in the greater machine that’s fueled solely by puzzle-solving. The Room and its sequel were content to keep players “boxed in,” if you will, relegated to smaller areas, but The Room Three is an extremely large and elaborate setup that practically begs for you to poke and prod its innermost orifices. In fact, there’s an entire hub world to explore that leads to a number of rooms that you can explore individually, teleporting you from one area to the other as you solve specific puzzles.
Some areas are comprised of multiple rooms and others are standalone. For the most part, they’re challenging in all the right ways. If you get stuck, there’s even a fair and balanced hint system to get you back on track and moving forward again. Unfortunately, some of the puzzles seem to have been dumbed down a bit from the caliber we saw in The Room and The Room Two, possibly to make exceptions for the larger areas and multiple layers of gameplay.
While the game has changed and improved upon its predecessors in several ways, there are still numerous callbacks to what made them so special in the first place. For instance, The Room fans were always interested in the ways the puzzles interconnected with each other, making for multi-faceted exploration and investigation. That game style is channeled in The Room Three despite the new, open areas with a special eyepiece that lets you travel inside of specific objects. This way you absolutely have to take a second look at what may seem like innocent objects in the grander scheme of things. In a way, this fits with the series’ darker overtones, and works very nicely with the more open approach Fireproof Games decided to take this time around.
Exploration is still relegated to the old point-and-click method of adventure games, with zooming in on objects and interacting with them appointed to pinch controls. Touch controls work fantastically here, as expected, and it’s a breeze to get around the larger open world. Despite there being a lot of ground to cover, it’s simple to get from point A to point B quickly in the event of backtracking, which there can be a lot of from time to time.
While trekking from one area to the next and scouring each room for clues, there’s foreboding background audio accompanying you on your way to piecing together the clues that come your way. The crisp, gloomy visuals of the previous two games haven’t changed, but have been noticeably improved this time around for an aesthetically pleasing and sound look for this nailbiting puzzler. Headphones are absolutely recommended for some of the more tense scenes.
The Room Three is exactly what fans have been hoping for, and more. Though several classical elements have changed, they’ve changed for the better. There’s a glut of new content, but it’s familiar and tweaked just enough for everyone to find something here they enjoy. There aren’t enough puzzlers out there like The Room, so it’s refreshing to see that Fireproof Games has knocked it out of the park once more. If you’ve not delved into this complex and enigmatic series, you need to do yourself a favor and get locked in The Room as soon as possible.