EGX Rezzed 2015: Hands on with atmospheric puzzle adventure The Room Three
Go on, give us a hint
At EGX last year Mark and Harry gazed on at my attempt to get through the first preview demo of The Room Three. They had finished long before, and each tut they threw my way felt like a knife in my back.
It was my first foray into the series, but that's still no excuse for the sheer amount of hints I needed to work my way through. Of course, I put it down to the foreboding atmosphere The Room throws at you, rather than my complete and utter lack of skill.
Earlier this month I strutted along to the Indie Chillout Zone at EGX Rezzed to check out The Room Three's updated tutorial alongside an all-new lighthouse area.
Now with a little more confidence under my belt, I stormed through the familiar puzzles from last year's demo, jimmying open a lock and matching family crests with ease.
As I zip-zoomed around each room I made use of my fancy eyepiece, letting me see the otherworldly auras that would help me progress.
There was no clear break point between the tutorial and lighthouse area, and all for the better. The demo had been remixed since the last time I played, with a few new puzzles and a couple of areas missing entirely.
Before I knew it I was standing in front of a table with a huge diorama spread out across it. A cathedral took pride of place in the centre, surrounded by a host of cavities denoting missing buildings.
As you play The Room Three, you get used to tearing apart each and every area in the hopes of finding a nook or cranny with a puzzle to solve. I felt my way around the table, soon unlocking a hidden compartment in the floor behind me.
My inventory eventually filled up with parts and pieces just like a '90s FMV-based CD-ROM adventure. The Room Three is very much the modern equivalent, reimagined to be infinitely more immersive thanks to fluid touch controls that suit the genre to a tee.
As I restored each building to its rightful place on the diorama, new puzzles opened up inside them. By looking through my mystical lens I'd see portals that would whisk me away to secret rooms with animal-themed puzzles.
After some tapping and tinkering, I found myself stuck. I had exhausted all my hints, none of which fit my situation, leaving me feverishly darting around the diorama hoping to find a way through.
Eventually, after swallowing up what was left of my pride I poked one of the devs behind me, who found I'd missed one of the animal rooms behind a portal entrance.
While this was ultimately something I'd missed, the hint system not steering me in the right direction was a tad disappointing, showing that there's still some way to go with playtesting.
That said, the joy I felt each time the cogs in my brain clunked along to unlock delightful 'Oh... OH!' moments of understanding made experiencing The Room Three more than worth my time.
I'm now keen to play The Room and The Room 2 before the latest instalment hits, as I get the feeling something very sinister is going on in the background that I won't understand without prior knowledge of the series.
After the better part of an hour I stood up, wiping the sweat from my brow. Mark and Harry would have been proud.
The Room Three is tentatively scheduled to release mid-summer on both iOS and Android platforms, with a playtime of around three to five hours.