First released on mobile in 2012, followed up on Steam in 2013, The Room is now available on Switch.
It feels like The Room has gone something of a full circle: it started out life as a touchscreen game, before moving to PC. Now, back on Switch, it’s been newly-optimised for touchscreen once again. Well, not just optimised; the press release of the game’s release states it has been “rebuilt from the ground up”, including new controls and new visuals. It shows – The Room looks absolutely stunning whether you look at it on the Switch’s small handheld screen or on a big TV.
In handheld mode, The Room can only be played via touchscreen. It’s irksome at first – having the option to play with standard controls would have been nice – but once you get used to it, the touchscreen implementation is very intuitive. It relies a lot on gestures in order to zoom, move around and interact with various elements of the game – which, considering the type of game that The Room is, is very important.
If you’re not familiar with it (and you probably ought to be, considering it’s one of the few prized games on Steam to have that coveted “Overwhelmingly Positive” rating), The Room is a puzzle game. But rather than being a series of unrelated puzzles, or puzzles to solve spread out over an area, everything you need to do is contained within a cube. Each side of that cube will have various puzzles to solve, many revolving around locks. Figuring out one puzzle often leads the way to another, and solving them all will open the cube, and move you on to the next puzzle. It’s a very simple idea, but ingenious in practice.
As such, being able to accurately interact with all elements of the cube is key. That means using your fingers to turn keys, pinching to zoom in and swiping to revolve the cube. It all works pretty seamlessly in touch screen mode. However, this is Nintendo Switch we’re talking about, so the game can also be played docked. Forget your Pro Controller though; you’ll only need one single Joy-Con to play The Room on your big-screen TV. Pointing it towards your TV, you’ll use it like a mouse cursor, clicking and dragging elements you want to interact with. It’s a nifty use of the Joy-Cons’ unique functionality, but it generally requires too much precision to be much fun to play for extended periods of time. Stick to handheld mode to get the most out of it.
If you’re yet to play The Room, Switch is undoubtedly the best way to enjoy it, with refreshed visuals and a redefined control scheme. At £6.99/$9.99 it’s about twice the price it is on Steam, but it still feels like a steal. Undoubtedly a great addition to anyone’s library, if you’re a fan of challenging puzzles, The Room is for you.