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This Bed We Made Review: If Sherlock Holmes Cleaned Hotel Rooms…

This Bed We Made

As human beings, we all love a little bit of snooping. Admit it: coming across a piece of information you probably shouldn’t be privy to sends a thrill up your spine. Noseying at things that don’t belong to us feels wrong, but there’s an illicit excitement attached to doing so. Sophie, our protagonist in This Bed We Made, certainly thinks so, anyway. As a chambermaid in an upmarket Montréal hotel, she just can’t help herself from having a snoop through guests’ belongings while cleaning their rooms.

And so, This Bed We Made, a detective thriller from Lowbirth Games, kicks off with Sophie in the room of a random guest, fingering over private letters and personal artifacts. Being in control of Sophie, as the player we’re instantly implicit in her actions, even though it feels a little unsettling and wrong. She’s an immediately likeable character, though. And when she starts to discover something of a mystery unfolding on the fifth floor of the Clarington Hotel, you won’t be able to look away.

The narrative of This Bed We Made kicks off as Sophie steps into Room 505. The bathroom has been turned into a makeshift darkroom, and hung up on the shower curtain rail are photos of Sophie. Rather incriminating photos, actually: she’s been caught snooping through guests’ belongings. Elsewhere in the room, photos and notes have been pinned to a wall, along with a makeshift map. Some of these places, Sophie has been recently. Is she being stalked? Just who is staying in Room 505 and what does he want with Sophie?

This Bed We Made review

It’s far from the only mystery that Sophie will discover as she goes about cleaning rooms in the Clarington. Down the hall, another mystery is waiting for her to stick her nose into: is one of the couple in Room 509 having an affair? Sophie’s guessing so: with signs of one of them sleeping on the sofa, it certainly looks like there’s some kind of trouble in paradise. Maybe it’s nothing. Or maybe all the strange things Sophie uncovers are connected in some way.

It’s not all about snooping and playing amateur detective, though. Sophie is a maid after all, and so over the course of This Bed We Made, you’ll clean up after your guests, wiping down their bathrooms, making their beds, emptying their bins and taking away dirty glassware. Do you have to do this stuff? Honestly, we’re not sure. At the beginning of the game, you’re told that your choices and actions will have an effect. We felt compelled to keep Sophie’s routine as close to what it should be as possible. That meant cleaning the rooms we were supposed to clean – and leaving everything untouched in the rooms we weren’t supposed to be cleaning.

There are some noticeable repercussions to some of the actions you make, however. Along with pawing over guests’ belongings, there’s numerous opportunities for Sophie to eavesdrop into conversations between the staff. Throwing away notes or cleaning up certain graffiti marks in the staff area can – and will – impact certain staff members’ employment status – and it seems like there’s some rather unsavoury characters amongst them. Meddle if you want, but think about your actions carefully.

On the other hand, we wish there were more repercussions to some of our actions. After noseying in a fellow maid’s locker, we found a rather mean note, insulting Sophie and another staff member. Our response? Throwing away their precious cigarettes. Sadly, nothing came of it. We suppose there’s a chance if, we were in the staff room at the right time, we might have heard them exclaiming “where’s my cigarettes?”, but who knows.

But back to the case at hand. In investigating the compelling mystery concerning the guests of the Clarington Hotel, Sophie will have to crack safe codes, decode strange encryptions and find combinations to open suitcases and vanity boxes. The puzzles are wonderfully interwoven to the game’s world, and we’ve had a great time solving them. There’s nothing too difficult, and our Sophie is rather astute: with the press of a button you can hear her inner monologue, and she often has something to say that will lead you in the right direction. If you want to figure everything out by yourself, of course, just simply refrain from pushing the button. But it’s handy to have if you’re not quite sure where to go or what to do next.

There’s a fair bit of to-ing and fro-ing, but the areas accessible to you within the Clarington are rather limited. We’d have liked more areas to poke around in, but This Bed We Made is a short, tight experience: you’ll be done in around five hours. And despite having enough freedom that you never feel completely hemmed-in, you’re limited to the areas that may be relevant to what you’re investigating. Not every guest room can be entered, for example (although there are a few exceptions) – but once you’re inside an area, you can open every drawer and every cupboard to your heart’s content.

This Bed We Made review

There are different endings to This Bed We Made, and how your experience closes will depend on your own snooping and conclusions. Some things are easily missed, so it’s worth following every possible lead: what you find out may surprise you. Needless to say, the story here didn’t quite go the way we expected it – and just when we thought we fully understood everything Sophie had uncovered, we were thrown another curveball.

A short but focused and utterly compelling experience, This Bed We Made is a mystery that we simply couldn’t pull ourselves away from. As wrong as it feels to be in Sophie’s shoes, snooping into things that didn’t concern us, it didn’t take long for us to be utterly engrossed in the mystery that unfolds. This is a detective game done right, with engaging puzzles and the perfect balance of player autonomy and guidance when you need it. The team at Lowbirth Games has revealed itself to be an incredibly talented bunch of people, and we can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

This Bed We Made Review – GameSpew’s Score

This review of This Bed We Made is based on the PC version, with a code provided by the game’s publisher. It’s available on PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X/S and PC.
Editor in chief // Kim's been into video games since playing Dizzy on her brother's Commodore 64 as a nipper. She'll give just about anything a go, but she's got a particular soft spot for indie adventures. If she's not gaming, she'll be building Lego, reading a thriller, watching something spooky or... asleep. She does love to sleep.