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Review of ROOM 208 by Stevens R. Miller

Stars - 15

Rating by Stevens R. Miller posted on Oct 2, 2019 | edit | delete

Not ready for publication.

We played this game on a PC. It has bugs. That’s a shame because it looks like it will be a pretty good game when they get the bugs out. No need to list them all (you can find some discussion of them on the Steam Store pages). Here are two we encountered: First, you can remap the keyboard, but the settings lose effect after you exit, then continue, the game. The settings you choose (like assigning the up arrow to mean “move forward”) are still visible in the Options menu, but the original settings (like the “W” key meaning “move forward”) are back. This is frustrating because you might not remember what those settings even were (like the tab key opening your inventory). Second, we had some problems moving a gem (or “amulet”) around, as though it somehow combined two of them into one, and changed its size. Not sure if that was intended, but shortly after that, a cryptic text message appeared on the screen as a kind of overlay. It had the word “Error” in it. Pretty certain this was not game-play but, instead, an error message the player ought never to see. Other players report other bugs. The developer responds quickly, but the responses are all, “Thanks for letting us know!” when they should be, “We’ll tell Steam to refund your money and we’ll post here when the debugged version is ready!”

Now this is all very disappointing because the same people created “The Initiate,” which is a fine game of a similar type. We never found a bug in “The Initiate,” and that one came out two years before “Room 208.” That’s just not acceptable in a commercial product.

As for the game itself, it is a point-and-click puzzler akin to (no surprise) “The Initiate.” The trailer does a good job of letting you know what it’s like. Couple of things aren’t apparent in the trailer, though. You need to use some inventory items that have limited resources, so a lot of your time is going to be spent on replenishing those resources. Some players might like the “walls are closing in” feeling that gives you, but we think it just distracts from solving the puzzles and the overall mystery of the story. A similar mechanic builds a kind of threat level as you move away from safe areas and stay too long in dangerous ones. You have to keep an eye on it and move back to safe areas (or use some inventory items for temporary safety) to avoid the consequences. Again, that kind of limitation might appeal to some people, but not those of us who liked the pure puzzle solving of games like “Quern” and “Myha.”

If you like puzzle/mystery games and don’t mind (or even like) having to cope with limited time and space issues, this game would be for you. But not until they get the bugs out.

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Time Played: 1-2 hours
Difficulty: Hard

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