The Room review for Nintendo Switch


Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also On: PC
Publisher: Team17
Developer: Fireproof Studios
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E

First, a confession: I didn’t finish The Room before writing this review.

I know, I know, that’s bad form, especially considering this game is short enough that you can beat it in a couple of hours. I do have a good excuse, though: I spent more than half an hour trying to finish one of The Room’s many, many puzzles, until I finally gave up in frustration once it became apparent I wasn’t going to be able to solve it.

It wasn’t that I didn’t know what I was supposed to do next — I knew exactly what to do, and somewhere near the end of my time with The Room, I even consulted walkthroughs, just to confirm I was on the right track. Rather, for whatever reason, the game just wouldn’t let me do what I was supposed to do: the solution called for using two fingers to move two puzzle pieces simultaneously, and no matter how hard I tried, or how many different ways I tried to touch the screen, it simply wouldn’t register the two different touches. Given that the only other place I saw this issue mentioned was in the comments on one of those aforementioned walkthroughs, it’s clear that the problem isn’t widespread, but it was enough to put me off the game entirely.

(As a sidenote: given The Room’s origins as a mobile game, I find it more than a little ironic that my problems with it stem from seemingly unresponsive touch screen controls.)

It’s unfortunate that my time with the game came to such a sudden, screeching halt, because up until that point, I’d been enjoying myself. The Room is a BAFTA winner, and it’s not hard to see why. For one thing, it looks absolutely stunning. True, it’s not exactly the most graphically-intensive game, seeing as it takes place in, you know, a room, but within that limited scope, the game shines. Everything looks crisp and clear, which is essential given that this is a game where you’re expected to explore every nook and cranny of certain objects in order to solve its puzzles.

And those puzzles are fiendishly clever. The Room constantly forces you to try every little thing and tap every little corner in order to find solutions, and you have to be clever if you’re going to do everything it wants you to do.

If I had one problem with The Room — beyond it hating my fingers, which I’d always thought were of normal size and shape — it’s the cost. It’s been 99 cents for years on the App Store, and even on PC you can get it for under $5. You’ll have to pay twice that to play it on your Switch, even though the content is the same. There’s something to be said for how the App Store has warped price expectations for games, I guess, but that doesn’t make it any easier to accept.

That said, if ever there was a short puzzle game worth the price, it’d be The Room. It packs a lot of content into its relatively brief playing time, and — assuming you aren’t stymied by a system that doesn’t recognize your fingers — it does so with tonnes of style.

Team17 provided us with a Room Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: B