It’s becoming more and more difficult for puzzle games to stand out from the crowd. The genre has seen a huge influx of options on the PS4, and while some of them fade into obscurity, others manage to offer their own unique mechanics that help them stand the test of time.
Rooms: The Unsolvable puzzle, is out now for PS4. Released by PrismPlus Co., Ltd. in Japan and HandMade Game in Korea, this game offers both VR and standard play, along with 144 puzzles to keep you busy for quite a while. Let’s find out if you’ll enjoy your stay in these rooms.
A Steady and Satisfying Parade of Puzzles
Rooms: The Unsolvable Puzzle is the sequel to a very well received game entitled Rooms: The Main Building. This new iteration of the game includes 96 puzzles in the main story, along with 48 specialty puzzles that you can unlock across each of the game’s 4 mansions.
There is a story tying everything together, but it’s not a major part of the experience. You play as Anne, a young girl who awakens one night to find that a toymaker’s mansion has appeared outside her house.
This mansion disappeared long ago without a trace, and once she enters, she finds herself in a strange and mysterious fairytale world. The tale of the toymaker and his woes are dolled out through short static cutscenes that utilize silhouettes and text to tell each piece of his story.
It’s a heartfelt fairytale that acts as a solid foundation for the game’s present story and the world. We don’t find out much about Anne herself, but the toymaker is a fairly developed character through each of the story intermissions you receive.
While I love good stories in puzzle games, the true test of this genre is the puzzles themselves. The fairytale story and backdrop in Rooms: The Unsolvable Puzzle are serviceable, but I would have loved to see more depth and range in the storytelling as the concepts only seem to scratch the surface of what kinds of tales could be told in this world.
It’s quick and easy to start solving puzzles in Rooms. You won’t need to do more than navigate a few menus before you neck-deep in your first sliding-room puzzle. The core mechanic of the game allows you to manipulate the room you’re standing in. Depending on what space you have around you, the room can be moved up, down, left, or right.
Some rooms will have walls on the sides or ceiling, preventing you from entering adjacent rooms. Others will have ladders that let you move into another room above or below you (assuming there is not a wall blocking your path).
The goal in each level is to reach the exit door. If you can do this within a certain number of moves, shown on the left side of the screen, you’ll receive a perfect score of 3 gold pieces. Taking too many moves drops this to two and one respectively. Perfect scores contribute to your progression and the true ending, so it’s smart to try and obtain this score in each puzzle.
While the puzzles start out pretty simple in each of the four mansions, the game quickly ramps up the difficulty and adds additional mechanics to keep you on your toes. Things like phones that teleport you across the level, dolls that chase you with each move, and bombs that can destroy certain walls are just some of the examples.
These mechanics add some variety to the core gameplay mechanic, but it’s impressive how well Rooms: The Unsolvable Puzzle is able to continue innovating on this core mechanic throughout the adventure.
That being said, repetition does tend to set in after extended play periods. The room shifting concept only works for so long before the puzzles start to blur together. Even so, the steady addition of new mechanics helps keep this from becoming a major issue.
Simple and Satisfactory Visuals
Rooms: The Unsolvable Puzzle can be played both on a standard television screen and in PlayStation VR. The mechanics and gameplay are identical, but the two options do offer vastly different visuals.
While the standard play offers colorful backdrops and simple animations, the VR option provides depth and life to the environments. It’s purely a visual difference, and I would have liked to see the option for motion controls to drag and move the rooms in VR, but the puzzles remain the same regardless of how you choose to play.
While it doesn’t reinvent the wheel, Rooms: The Unsolvable Puzzle is a game that offers a lot of content for its asking price, and a solid story to boot. Puzzle fans or those with VR should definitely take a look at what this mansion has to offer.
Final Score: 8.0/10
A copy of Rooms: The Unsolvable Puzzle was provided to PS4 Experts for review purposes
Article by - Bradley Ramsey
/Insert date - 7/12/18