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Rooms is a sliding puzzle game, that follows up the recent popularity of hidden object and brain training on the Nintendo DS.
Puzzle games pose the player a problem to solve, and then provided a limited set of tools with which to solve it. This can be as simple as arranging 2D blocks on top of each other, or as complex as balancing objects in a 3D environment. The initial interaction is what usually hooks players in for the first few hours, but it is the game's ability to scale both the size and complexity of each puzzle that distinguishes the truly excellent experiences.
Unlike other recent puzzle games on the DS, Rooms has some new ideas. Rather than finding hidden objects or solving puzzles separately, here you do both at the same time.
Each level consists of a grid of tiles - the sort you would rearrange to reform a picture. But here you can only move the tiles you are standing on. This, combines with a range of special objects - ladders, teleporting phones and the like - make it more of a challenge to complete.
The novelty here is a living breathing sliding puzzle. It's great to see new players quickly grasp the idea, remembering sliding puzzles from their younger years perhaps, and then running with it as the game introduces new elements.
Players quickly rise to the 'just one more go' nature of the game and are soon locked into progressing through the different mansions - and some 100 puzzles. Furrowed brows and scratched heads tell the story that this is both engaging and perplexing.
Earlier levels can be completed in under a minute, although as they get larger there is more of a time investment. The game can be saved after each level, so you don't need to wait any longer then five minutes to be able to save and stop. And of course you can always just close the DS to pause things.
Very young players may struggle with the small graphics and detailed logic to solve each puzzle. Juniors and older children will soon be working through the levels though.
Intermediate and new players are best served here. The game connects to a familiar real world puzzle and then creates a unique challenge that is just taxing enough to keep playing.
Experts may balk at the pixilated visuals and slight repetitive game play. But for anyone to finish Rooms The Main Building is a real accomplishment.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: