Rooms: the main building
Platform: Nintendo DS (Wii)
Developer: Hudson Soft (Handmade games)
Released: Out Now
In Rooms: the main building you play as Mr. X, an unfortunate man who was sucked into a strange world after reading a mystical letter. Now you must escape by ploughing through the vast array of enigmatic rooms in order to unlock the puzzle of the rooms to return home… Hold on… Get that pistol out of your mouth! All hope is not lost, for you have the imaginatively named Mr. Book by your side. This talking book has near encyclopedic knowledge of the puzzle world, and it is his helpful introduction to new objects found in the rooms, as well as his steady stream of useful advice that will aid your escape.
However, what the game lacks in story, it makes up for in gameplay. The game is slow to get going with the initial introductory puzzles feeling almost as drawn out as the cut scenes, but once it picks up there is some thought-provoking puzzling on offer. Each level has a difficulty rating out of 5 stars, and it is only when this starts to rise that the game really comes into it’s own. Also, with the gradual dispersal of new items in the rooms, you never feel like you are grinding through levels- it always feels fresh.
As you progress through the rooms (levels), along with a bit more clue-finding and puzzle-solving in the central hub area, you in turn unlock new mansions (stages). In this respect, there is a lot of content on offer, which is great value for money. You can then play through certain rooms again in order to get perfect on every one. Fully completed rooms are marked as gold, whereas levels which you have merely passed will be shown as silver. This means (for perfectionists especially) there are many added hours of entertainment to be found here.
Overall, Rooms: the main building is a slow-starter but once it gets going top-notch puzzling ensues. Long-winded cut scenes and a pointless plot plight the story mode, although the puzzling aspects are fun, and the harder ones refreshingly require a use of your logic. The visuals are poor, so much so in fact, that the blurry screens can sometimes lead to your confusion. However, this is made up for by an atmospheric and well-stylised musical score which sets the mood for the game perfectly. There is a slight overuse of some generic sound effects, but I suppose we can let them off based on the quality of the other half of the sound. Besides, the large the amount of content promises to provide hours of play time, and as a result the game is good value for your hard-earned cash. It’s hardly an essential purchase, but if you’re looking for a solid puzzler, you could do a lot worse than pick up Rooms: the main building, which is why I’m giving it:
- Great value for money
- Loads of content and alternative game modes to explore
- Thoughful, logic-requiring puzzles once the game gets going
- Well-suited atmospheric music
- Takes a while to get going
- Time-consuming cut scenes and plot
- Uninspiring visuals
- Repetitive recycled sound effects