Rooms: the Main Bulding - Review

Rooms: the Main Bulding
Rating: E - Everyone

Rooms is basically a sliding-block puzzle with 100 different puzzles to solve. There is a thin back-story to explain why you are in these sliding-block environments and to connect you to a few other types of puzzles, but the meat of the game is the sliding blocks.

You start out each puzzle with you (Mr. X) inside of a block, and your goal is to get to the exit block. If there is an unoccupied space next to (or above or below) the block you are in, you can slide your block into this space. If your block contains a ladder, you can climb up to the block above you; if the block below you has a ladder you can descend into it. You can walk to blocks touching your block on either side, unless ....

Here is the puzzle part. Some blocks have walls, floors or ceilings that prevent entry or exit. Some blocks have one-way doors on one sider or another - doors with doorknobs on only one side - no knob, no opening. Some doors need keys to be opened. Some blocks are filled with water, and you have to position a block with a pump above it to pump out the water - and be careful where the water goes!

There are other gimmicks - cabinets that interchange room contents (and walls), leaving you in the same room; telephones that teleport you to the answering phone; subways that can drop you off into rooms inbetween the two 'stations', rooms that rotate about their axes, rooms that can be mirrored, rooms with wooden walls which block your way until you ignite a dynamite box with a candle flame to blow the wood away!

All in all, 100 puzzles. I was able to solve almost all of the first 80 myself, which complets the game, though a few of them required the aid of a walkthrough - one exceedingly difficult one took over 60 steps! The last 20 rooms are sort of a bonus.

There are additional fillips in the game - a side story with some other puzzles, assembling a background pictre, and for those who really want challenges, move and time limits. The entire configuration of the puzzle you are working on is shown on the upper screen on the DS, and I found that whether a wall was on the block you were in or the neighboring one a bit easier to see there. If you get stuck you can always restart the current puzzle.

Help is a bit obscure. When in the play mode, tapping the question mark on the left will illuminate all the items that have help associated with them. Then tap one of these items and get a multi-screen explanation of the item. Tap the question mark again to go back to game mode. I couldn't find any mention of saves, but the game seems to save all the solved rooms, and 'continue' takes you to the last room you were working on, or to the 'map' of rooms if you have not picked the next room to solve yet. The manual has many instructions printed in dark brown on black, for the visually acute.

You can build your own puzzles (and save up to 10 of them) and if your friends also have copies of Rooms you can swap levels with them using the wireless feature.

The game plays well on the DS, and is even easier to see on the DS XL. The demo version we got for the Wii seemed much less satisfactory. This is a really nice puzzle to carry around in your pocket for when you have a few boring minutes - and if you are the type, you can replay any room to go for a more elegant solution.

Fun Factor: Intriguing set of puzzles nicely presented. A few are quite difficult.
Female Factor: None.
Player Friendly: Dark brown text on black in the manual? No mention of Saves? In-game help good, though.

Reviewed by: Lou - May/10

  • Rooms: the Main Bulding
  • © Hudson/Konami
  • Platform(s): DS DSi
  • To Order: DS $29.03