For someone trapped inside a motel with grotesque horrors and a doctor that likes to remove limbs, the protagonist of Oxide Room 104 sounds surprisingly upbeat.
“What is that?”, he says, nonchalantly, as a mutilated corpse with too many arms crawls towards him in a pool of blood. Sometimes the deadpan delivery is comical; other times it’s simply bad. But at least it’s memorable. Like the original Resident Evil all those years ago, Oxide Room 104‘s voice acting somewhat adds to its charm.
Still, along with other issues, it doesn’t allow the game to make a great first impression. Waking up in a bathroom, trapped, you’ll have to find a way out, escape room-style, before getting out of the motel you’ve ended up in. And initially, it may seem that the odds are truly stacked against you.
Presented with three mysterious jars on a table, for example, you might find yourself poisoned if you stick your hands in them willy-nilly. And if you haven’t got an antidote on you, death comes quickly.
It’s quite easy to bleed to death, too. Fall victim to a trap or one of the weird mouthy monsters that occupy some rooms, and you better have a bandage at hand. Though if one of those monsters corners you, death is inevitable unless you can quickly put them down with your pistol. And if you’ve got no ammo, tough luck: there’s no melee combat here.
Needless to say, your first attempt at completing Oxide Room 104 might not last that long and be full of frustrations. But when you die for the first time, things suddenly begin to make more sense.
You see, while you can complete Oxide Room 104 without dying, initially it’s a part of the learning experience. Die for the first time and you’ll discover that it isn’t the end of your adventure.
After watching a grisly scene you’ll wake up back in the bathroom where you started, sure, but this time things will be different. Items will have been moved around and there might be more enemies, but some of the puzzles you encountered before may be easier to solve. Plus, you might already have their solutions if you can remember them.
Ultimately, your goal is to escape the motel you’ve found yourself in. But to do that you’re going to have to visit the majority of its rooms – or at least the majority of those that are available to you. Most have some kind of puzzle to solve or hazard to bear in mind.
Those who are diligent can find documents along the way, too, fleshing out the story. Though one character signing off their notes simply as ‘Evil’ is cheesy as hell.
Your first playthrough of Oxide Room 104 might take anywhere between three to five hours depending on how thorough you are at investigating and solving puzzles. With multiple endings to discover based on your actions, however, there’s impetus to return and try an do things differently. Chances are subsequent playthroughs will take two hours or less, too, so it’s not that much of an undertaking.
Focusing on puzzles rather than action – most noteworthy encounters are delivered via quick time events – Oxide Room 104 may be rough around the edges but it has a certain something that elevates it above many of its competitors. It has a genuinely oppressive atmosphere, its puzzles are engaging, and its looping mechanic adds a exciting twist. If you’re a survival horror fan looking for something that will occupy an evening or two, this may just fit the bill.