Title: The Room
Platform: iPad 2 or higher
Cost: 4.99

 

The Room is an old-fashioned puzzle adventure updated for the interactivity of the touch screen. You begin the game, like a proper tale of mystery and suspense,'  with a hastily scribbled note left by a vague acquaintance imploring you to solve the puzzles he has left behind.'  "The stakes are higher than you could imagine," writes A.S., who instructs you to begin by finding a special lens. To navigate around the game, you use your touch screen in many of the familiar ways: pinch and pull to zoom in or out, tap an object to get a better look, or slide to look around.'  The best part is, instead of using a keyboard or a controller to interact with the puzzles in front of you, you can touch the things you see: turn a key, slide open a panel, rotate a series of metal rings. You can explore each puzzle more physically than a game where you can only see and hear.

The graphics are intricate and beautifully rendered: wood finish and shiny metal mechanical parts. Reviews are comparing the game to Myst, and The Room certainly has a similar intriguingly suspenseful tone. You know intellectually that it is not the kind of game where any enemy will appear and attack you, but the first time I used the lens to look around for clues, I jumped when I saw the invisible ink it revealed.

Full disclosure, I haven't had a chance to play through the whole game. I don't have an iPad, but I have a friend who does. My friend Anna is an avid gamer on all platforms; she's the person who first introduced me to Minecraft. I find her gaming habits to be a helpful resource because she always knows about games I haven't played and tends to be familiar with games that are popular with my teens. Friends are a part of your personal learning network. It's always worthwhile when I learn from mine.'  Fellow App of the Week blogger, and all-around technology advocate, Linda Braun, mentioned this in her column, The Unbound Word in this month's VOYA. You can always stay up to date on a device you don't have by asking a friend to let you play.

So far the only complaint I've heard about The Room, is that it's too short. Anna broke it down for me this way: the game costs 4.99 for maybe four or five hours of gameplay. Initially, she thought the price seemed a bit high, but when she compared it to a more expensive PC game that might be four or more times as long, it seemed to work out fairly.

Take a look at the game in this quick spoiler-free trailer:

 

For more app recommendations, visit the YALSA App of the Week Archive

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