Rooms: The Main Building
Rooms: The Main Building has as purpose to have the lead character escape from a room with one, seemingly unreachable, door. The special thing about this room is that it’s one big sliding puzzle. Innovative approach of a classic idea, we like that but this also means there’s a big risk for things falling apart. Like here.
“Yawn, I’m bored! Isn’t there anything else to do?” This must be one of the strangest opening lines I’ve ever encountered. Further sentences made me hope that there would be some depth to this game, naive as I am. Also the main character seemed to be someone I would love to rescue from a room but how unfortunate… I find more depth in a soap series. Even the main character isn’t worth many words. He’s a spoiled brat locked in a fantasy world of a talking book which is very originally called “Mr. Book”.
The story certainly isn’t interesting (not that there is much of a story) and at times even annoying. Each time you find an object after solving some puzzles this is shown to the talking book with the question “What is this?”. This even happens when the answer is obvious: you find a golden key, what would this be? Wasn’t there a golden lock on one of the doors of the other locations? Some new game elements can be explained in this way but overall you get lead by the hand way too much and that while in a puzzle game you would execpt having to find out some stuff yourself. After all, isn’t that the idea behind puzzles? What else is there to puzzle? It’s like someone is telling you that the butler did it before his victims are cold.
Admitted, the story is only one thing. There are plenty of games which despite a bad or absent story still delivery solid gameplay. However, this game falls short in that department as well. It’s too short and too easy. Ok, a couple of simple puzzles at the start to warm up can’t hurt, but in this case the easy puzzles were in the majority. Each time you reach the harder puzzles in a level they weren’t all that hard to crack, and the next level again starts with the very easy types.
In total there’s four levels with a couple of extra puzzles so not really something you can be busy with for days. Another problem that doesn’t help the total playing time either is the danger for repetition. Contrary to what I expected, this wasn’t too much of a problem. There’s some diversity that did manage to keep me going for a bit longer, in the hopes that there would be light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately there wasn’t.
The only good thing about this title is the original approach and twists given to the traditional sliding puzzle. To help or make things more difficult there are special objects and rooms. Examples of these are telephones that transport you to other rooms, cupboards which change the room but not the character, mirror rooms which move in opposite direction, and so on. That way moving pieces of the puzzle becomes more complex (but also sometimes easier as you get more options) and more fun. These elements made that the game does have somewhat of a “soul”.
As usual with this type of puzzles you can make pictures and in Rooms that’s a second goal; get through the door without completing the picture and you only get a silver award eventhough the mission is completed. Some famous places can be recognised in the pictures like the Sacré-Coeur or Montmartre in Paris. As a challenge was lacking for the most part I tried to recognise the pictured building or place. Challenges are best looked for elsewhere.
If we dissect the game to the level of the ideas we find some interesting concepts with which something good can be made. On the condition that further though goes into how they get attached to other good ideas to make for an interesting end product. The end result here, however, certainly isn’t anything to write home about.