Critical Play: Puzzles

I played The Room 1, a very cool and mysterious puzzle game. This was created by Fireproof games, seemingly for teenagers/adults with the capacity to solve somewhat challenging puzzles. This game begins with a letter, shown in the screenshot below, describing the goal of the game: to get into the box and discover the mysteries it holds.

The mechanics of the game involve dragging and clicking on things to explore them and solve puzzles. The mechanics allow the player to feel as though he or she is in the room examining things, as though it were an in-person escape room. Each time you solve a puzzle, such as connecting things in the correct pattern, something new is revealed: a tool, such as a key, or a clue. The screenshot below shows how one such tool – a wrench – is then used to open something and get one step closer to the goal.

Another important mechanic in this game is the option to click to receive a hint. Hints do not become available until the player has been stuck on something for a long time, allowing it to feel sufficiently challenging but never too frustrating. This is shown in the following screenshot:

The Types of Fun in this game include Discovery, Challenge, and Narrative. Using impeccable graphics and interestingly worded riddles/letters, the designers did a good job of weaving a compelling mystery into a puzzle-focused game. If I were to change anything, I might include more riddles/guiding clues at the beginning, as it could be frustrating to search the box without any context or idea of what to look for. Overall, though, it was extremely fun and rewarding to explore and challenge myself in The Room.

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