Halfway through my first playthrough of The Room 2 I realised I was sat in total darkness. The only light in the whole of the house spilling out from the screen of my iPad.
It was a window into another world, dark and full of danger, that had kept me utterly enthralled for the best part of the last two hours.
A couple of hours later, after I'd slid the last puzzle piece into place, and glimpsed the dark truth at the centre of the game, I was hunched in the same position, still lit only by the pool of watery light emanating from my tablet's screen.
That's the beauty of Fireproof's sequel. Each puzzle solved asks more questions, each twist of a screw or pull of a lever reveals some new mystery that it's impossible to ignore. It sinks its claws in deep and refuses to let go.
And while there are flaws and niggles, The Room 2 still stands as one of the finest games to ever grace the App Store.
Room with a view
The game picks up where the original left off, stretching itself out into a wider universe, full of multiple rooms, multiple boxes, and intricate multi-layered puzzles that trick and twist their way into being in remarkable ways.
The first chapter sees you in a room with two boxes, moving between them with pinches and swipes. You're still manipulating things by swiping and tapping, pulling handles and flicking switches with the touchscreen.
It fosters a real connection between you and the puzzle objects you're poking and prodding. Each swipe around for a better look, each double-tapped zoom-in, breeds a familiarity, so when you have to find a new piece or a new clue, you know exactly where to start looking.
The addition of extra boxes and different objects to play with does dilute the wonder of watching a single box reshape into various new guises, though, and moving around the world doesn't feel quite so elegant as shifting around the one plinth in the first game.
But that slight change in focus also widens the scope of The Room 2. It allows the game to spread its wings, to tease and provoke, to shock and terrorise, in ways that the first game only ever hinted at.
There are moments here where I was genuinely afraid of what was about to happen, as well as short sharp shocks that are enough to make even the hardiest of gamer jump a little.
The atmosphere is still rich and oppressive, but now it weaves its way through multiple settings, different eras, and a host of new puzzle boxes, cabinets, models, and chunks of furniture that engross and beguile in equal measure.
There are crossbows to build and fire, an ingenious chapter set around a seance, and a lab-set finale that sees you aiming a laser around a lighthouse while looking for beetles and charging batteries.
And for every shock and every twist a new piece of the narrative is revealed.
The Room 2 is never explicit, and it never holds your hand, but it lets slip its secrets in cunning ways. That story is the game's final puzzle, and it leaves you to unlock it in your own time.
Room to grow
The Room 2 is perhaps a little easier than its predecessor, and a little kinder with its hint system, and at just over four hours, some might feel that it's a little too short.
But these are tiny niggles in an otherwise incredible package. The Room 2 is an intricately woven work of fiction, perfectly suited to its format, poised and polished to a grim, glistening sheen, and capable of shocking all the way to the end.
This is the sort of game that it's worth sitting in the dark for.
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