We first got the chance to try out The Room VR: A Dark Matter back at Oculus Connect 6 (OC6) late last year on the Oculus Quest, but that was just a brief show floor demo. The folks over at Fireproof Games recently sent us a multi-hour long preview build so we got the chance to dive back into this dark, mysterious world.
Suffice it to say that, from what I’ve seen so far, it certainly seems like The Room VR: A Dark Matter could quickly become the new standard by which to judge future VR puzzle games. The same way it redefined what was possible in a puzzle format on mobile devices, Fireproof is pushing boundaries for puzzle games with the same franchise once again, but this time for the immersive format of virtual reality.
Considering the version I played was running natively on an Oculus Quest, I was extremely impressed with the visuals. That being said, everything has an almost noticeable layer of downgrades over the top compared to how vibrant and crisp games on PC VR can look, but that’s understandable.
The demo began on a balcony, which I presume is the very start of the game. It seemed like a typical police station in a tall office building at the center of a busy London street in the 1900s. After the first half-hour or so is when things start to really turn upside down, though. As it turns out, you’ve got to investigate the disappearance of a well-known Egyptologist.
The Room games on mobile were always a bit unsettling, if not a tad creepy, but because they’re mobile games that mostly have you poking around and looking for clues, the inclusion of some light horror thriller elements definitely caught me off guard. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it include jump scares or anything like that, but it’s certainly got an overwhelming sense of uncertainty wile playing it.
The Room VR is only really a Room game in name and thematic consistency since it doesn’t actually take place inside a single room or anything like that. Instead, it spans a multitude of locations and sends players on a vast supernatural journey to uncover the unknown.
Some puzzles are all about trial and error here. I have no shame in admitting that I got stuck pretty early on in the preview build. It’s always one of my worst fears when playing unreleased software for review, but thankfully this was just a preview this time. Whereas a game like Moss or Asgard’s Wrath would have you thinking like a gamer to solve game puzzles, similar to The Legend of Zelda, The Room VR is much more about environmental puzzles, leveraging items you find and use, and combining things together in creative ways.
Instead of moving some blocks around to power up a generator or something silly like that, it would be more like deciphering missing words on a code ledger to unlock a storage box. Having to think in real-world terms rather than looking at everything through the lens of VR, is pretty awesome
Admittedly I did not play the entire multi-hour demo for The Room VR that Fireproof sent me partially because I was pressed for time and wanted to get some thoughts out and partially because I’m saving the nitty gritty details.
The Room VR: A Dark Matter is releasing this coming March 26th, 2020 on Oculus Quest, PSVR, and all major PC VR platforms. You can see more info on the game now at the game’s Steam page. This preview was written after playing a pre-release preview build of the game for Oculus Quest.