Title: The Room VR: A Dark Matter
Developer: Fireproof Games
Publisher: Fireproof Games
Genre: Adventure, Exploration, Puzzle
Platform: Oculus Quest
Release Date: 26/03/2020
Price: £22.99 – Rapid Reviews UK was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
The Room VR series has been around for a while now with iterations on phones and tablets, as well as PC and consoles. The realisation of the world and puzzle boxes of The Room VR: A Dark Matter, afterwards shortened to The Room VR, thrust the user into a virtual space alongside various locations through five or so chapters. In The Room VR, you play as a detective, investigating the disappearance of an Egyptologist, who worked at The British Institute of Archaeology, London, in 1908.
The first chapter of the story teaches you the basics of how you interact with the world through teleportation movement, the pressing of buttons, pulling of levers, and utilising a unique set of goggles which gives you insight into the dark dimension. You move around the environment along set jump points typically located in front of an interactive puzzle object in the game which has you thinking not only linearly but in various dimensions.
One of The Room VR’s defining features is the amount of detail crafted throughout the game’s environments and puzzle box style rooms. There are subtle clues placed around the floors, walls, and within small nooks and crannies, which frequently I found myself overlooking as I moved through the world. For instance, in one area a chalkboard gave a clue about where you would find a tool to open a safe or in another area a poster on a wall had an inscription detailing the potions needed to pour into a giant cauldron.
Each location has multiple points of interaction and as you progress further into the game the process of jumping in and out of the dark dimension will become even more pertinent in how you need to use all of your tools across the two dimensions.
Getting lost in the realism
Along with detailed worlds and puzzles, the level of interaction within The Room VR is staggering. There are levers to pull and cranks twist, ropes to lift and lower objects, keys to turn in doors, slide puzzles, spatial awareness, and more. While the first section is mostly introduction, the subsequent puzzle rooms will have you completing multi-step puzzles that can invoke brain-stretching moments when brute force troubleshooting won’t do.
The puzzles themselves have a linear approach, though in a few areas there is a bit more freedom in the steps you take to getting through the puzzles before you. I believe it was the third and fourth areas of the game that open up into giving you some freedom in the order of operations you can take towards reaching solutions.
The Room VR is one of the prettiest games that fully resembles a real world full of objects that are believable and when held have a sense of weight and physics like none other I have seen on the Oculus Quest.
Creepy factor via sound effects
Another often missed feature of The Room VR that transcends the world you are placed in is the sound effects. From the eerie sounds of thunder and lightning booming around you to the crackling of a fireplace, the haunting winds of an interdimensional doorway, and the bloops and blobs of a cauldron, The Room VR sets the tone through its sound design.
There was a moment in one of the early levels when it was storming in the game, and the real world, and it was hard for me to distinguish the sound effects that I was hearing while playing the game. There were a few jump scare moments while playing, but most of them were for effect in immersing you into the world of The Room VR.
An Observant Gamer
One thing is clear, as I have played the first few sections of the game three or four times, is that The Room VR does not have a lot of replayability. Though this can be different for each gamer, one way that I was able to enjoy, The Room VR more was by streaming to my Facebook friends and asking them to get involved with solving puzzles and dictating where I should go next. In a way, I made The Room VR a social multiplayer game, and it was a unique experience.
If there is one qualm I have with the game is that once you are done with the game, there’s not much incentive to jump back in and replay the game. While the price is currently £22.99, I will say that the five chapters you play through are long and engrossing enough. The experience you have while moving around the virtual worlds is well worth the price of admission, as there are very few games that do what The Room VR does well. If you are a fan of puzzle games and have a system that supports VR, I would highly recommend jumping into The Room VR: A Dark Matter.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase The Room VR: A Dark Matter from the Oculus Quest Store on the following link, https://www.oculus.com/experiences/quest/2124523024270629/?locale=en_GB
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.