The Room VR: A Dark Matter is Watson this week’s Ian’s VR Corner.
The Room VR: A Dark Matter is the fifth game in the Room series and while it’s the first one to make the jump to VR, its spooky escape room escapades seem like a perfect fit for the medium.
In this week’s episode of Ian’s VR Corner, you can watch me play through the first two levels of the game in a preview build for the Oculus Quest. In it, I channel my inner Sherlock Holmes in order to get to the bottom of some creepy crimes that have unfolded deep within the British Institute of Archaeology.
If you’re a fan of The Room series already, you’ll be pleased to know that The Room VR: A Dark Matter includes everything you loved from the flat games but of course this transition to VR only adds to the immersion.
The story takes place in a smoggy London in 1908 and there’s a really creepy, Lovecraftian atmosphere to the proceedings. This atmosphere is enhanced by some quality visuals and even on the Quest with its limited processor power the locations are incredibly detailed and well realised. This is of course in part down to the fact that each area is small and enclosed, but this modest scope has allowed the team at Fireproof Games to create levels that feel real and lived in.
These small locations and the puzzle-solving nature of the gameplay do place quite a restriction on movement though. In the world of A Dark Matter the control scheme is limited to teleportation and click turn movement only, with no option to turn them off. This isn’t particularly an issue due to the type of game A Dark Matter is, especially when the freedom of movement offered by the Quest is involved, but not being able to fully explore the environments did feel like a little bit of a let down.
It’s also worth pointing out that, while I played stood up in the video above, this restrictive control scheme makes the game perfectly suited for playing in a seated position.
Something about this location Sphinx of crime.
As with all puzzle and escape rooms games, the success or a failure of the product largely depends on how good its head-scratchers are. Thankfully, the signature touch-feely puzzle solving gameplay of the Room series works incredibly well in VR. I really enjoyed the physicality afforded by the motion controls and the ability to be able to interact with the puzzle objects and push, pull and turn the strange mechanisms that lay hidden inside them was particularly fun.
From what I’ve played of this preview build, there’s little to dislike about The Room VR: A Dark Matter, especially if you’re already a fan of the series already. If you’re looking for an immersive, entertaining puzzler for your VR headset that’ll be comfortable for any level of VR enthusiast to play, I would throughly recommend keeping an eye on this one.
While there’s no set release date yet, The Room VR: A Dark Matter is due to come out on pretty much every VR platform available, including PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift and Quest and HTC Vive. Which seems elementary to say the least.