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Review: The Room Three – mystery puzzling at its finest

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The third game in the critically acclaimed mystery series is bigger and bolder than its predecessors. But is there room for improvement?

Price: $4.99 / £3.99
Version: 1.0.1
Size: 575 MB
Developer: Fireproof Games

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We remember first playing The Room back in 2012 and thinking The Box would have been a more accurate title – though excellent, its puzzles were confined to a single elaborate puzzle box; the fact it took place inside a room was barely relevant. Just over a year later, The Room Two expanded the scope of the series, allowing for more exploration of actual rooms. Fast-forward to the present, and The Room Three ramps up the scale yet again. Set across a multitude of intricately crafted rooms within a grand mansion on a remote island it feels, well, roomier than ever before.

What we’re trying to say is that there are a lot of rooms in this game.


One of the many multi-layered puzzle boxes in the game

For the uninitiated, The Room games test your wits against a sequence of mysterious puzzles. There are intricate boxes with moving parts, hidden doorways, and a plethora of locks, keys, symbols, codes, knobs and levers. Successfully completing a challenge will usually cause a new riddle to appear, or grant you an item to be used in another area.

This time you’re up against a mysterious adversary known only as “The Craftsman,” who set up the house of intricate puzzles and traps to test you for his own amusement. The game is split into five chapters of interconnected riddles, each set in a different part of the estate, while the mansion itself provides a kind of hub world filled with its own mysteries to solve. It’s a smart way to tie a potentially confusing game world together.


The magical eyepiece can reveal hidden puzzle elements

The puzzles are multi-layered and very creative, often switching between different scales. A magical spyglass, new to the series, allows you to see hidden puzzle elements. It will even allow you to zoom inside certain glowing contraptions to solve the conundrums hidden within.

Though not strictly a horror game, there’s a vaguely menacing sense of foreboding throughout, aided by the ominous audio and the brooding, atmospheric aesthetic. The 3D environments are great and really help you feel like this is an adventure game just as much as a puzzle game. Whether you’re transitioning between rooms or watching one of many complex gizmos unfold into something new, the animations are always slick and satisfying – this is a great looking game.


Rigging up power to these projectors opens new areas

Touch controls are perfect for this evolution of the “point and click” style of games – exploring rooms and inspecting objects with pinch, swipe and double-tap gestures comes naturally. Everything feels so tactile; the tangible, material feel of the objects is probably the game’s crowning achievement.

It can be a little frustrating to backtrack between rooms, but considering how much is going on the game is paced nicely and does a good job of preventing you from getting too far ahead of yourself. It gives you a sense of freedom while still keeping the progression fairly linear. A well-paced hint system stops the game becoming too frustrating by offering timed clues when you get stuck, which get more helpful the longer you struggle on for. It’s a pleasingly fair system, but of course you can disable them entirely if you want a more serious challenge.


Some elements are just plain creepy

Although the story is still secondary to the puzzles, the plot has been fleshed out a little this time. We won’t spoil it for you, but suffice to say it continues the themes of the previous games – and there’s more than one ending to be found. It’s reasonably long for a mobile game with a high-quality polish throughout. The game definitely delivers your money’s worth.

The Room Three takes everything from its award-winning predecessors and ramps it up. It lacks a little of the focus and originality of the first game, but the series is evolving nicely and this is one of the best examples of the mystery genre you’ll find on iOS.

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