A Room Beyond – Review
Follow Genre: Puzzle Adventure
Developer: René Bühling
Publisher: René Bühling
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

A Room Beyond – Review

Site Score
8.2
Good: Great story
Bad: Graphics obscure objects
User Score
9.5
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 9.5/10 (2 votes cast)

A Room Beyond is a classic point & click puzzle adventure, with a very unique retro graphics style. The game is being released in several episodes via Steam. A Room Beyond is a occult adventure, inspired by Victorian gothic horror novels and Lovecraftian myths. The game has been developed and released by René Bühling.

A Room Beyond logo

Story

The story is about a mysterious murderer called the Fog Wanderer, who terrorizes a village, the surrounding lands, and all its inhabitants. This mysterious creature is accompanied by strangely glowing creatures like giant spiders, frogs and demon-like figures, which you need to battle throughout the game.

At the start of the game the protagonist comes to his senses, trapped in a cave full of ritualistic items. He escapes from this cave and finds a little cottage of a gold-finder and his wife. Here, he hears about the Fog Wanderer, and he sets out to try to save others from this horror, and find out who and what the Fog Wanderer is. He travels to various locations, meets many inhabitants of the lands, and learns more about the world and it’s stories. However, everybody around him seems to be filled with fear and driven by superstition, making his quest just that more difficult to complete.

A Room Beyond screen 1

Graphics

A Room Beyond sports a peculiar art style with layered pixelated graphics, and 3D blocky pixel-style characters. The art style itself looks pretty cool and feels like a homage to the classic retro adventure games of old, but sometimes it’s hard to tell what a blob of colored pixels is supposed to represent. Perhaps this poses rather more of a problem in A Room Beyond than it did in the classic games, because in this game, objects are intentionally obfuscated by the blurry art-style, and not specifically made as clear as possible despite the technological difficulties. Luckily, you can press a button to show visual cues for interact-able objects and exits. This is essential to do at virtually every screen, because the graphics make things look blurred out, and it’s easy to overlook or misinterpret a lot of things that are shown on the screen.

Sound

The game itself is pretty quiet: there are some environmental sounds and interaction sounds, but there is no narration. The silence is not much of a problem, you won’t notice it and it feels fitting to the game. Whenever there is a sound, you’ll immediately pay attention. The music for the game’s title sequence is ‘Danse Macabre’, which is very fitting to the story’s genre, and a pretty awesome grim piece of classical music.

A Room Beyond screen 2

Gameplay

A Room Beyond is a classic puzzle point ‘n click where you have to collect and combine objects to use them cleverly. The gameplay is very similar to the classics: explore everything on screen, pick everything up, and if you don’t know how to get further, try to combine things in your inventory, or try to put inventory items on interact-able regions on the map. Sometimes do some really weird combinations to solve problems; if all the obvious solutions aren’t available, try to think in extremes. Revisit screens often to see if you triggered a new event or revealed a new option to take you further in the story.

Battle is also a party of this game: There are several monsters you fight throughout the game, simply by equipping a weapon which you found somewhere, and clicking the monster. You need to position your character in the right way in order to hit a monster, and remember to look out for other monsters that might hit you if you get too close. Sometimes it’s a bit tricky to figure out how to approach a monster, especially when the camera positions change. You won’t travel through the treacherous lands alone, every now and then you’ll pick up a companion. You can talk to your companion, and companions help in battle if you manage to position them next to an enemy. You can also equip your companion with a weapon, which you won’t be able to get back afterwards.

A Room Beyond screen 3

Puzzles usually require several steps to complete, and you should expect to be walking around a lot. Some puzzles require you to craft potions, some to cast something down an abyss, some to use objects for something else than intended, and some require you to do some research in the library. There’s a great variety of puzzles, which is fun and doesn’t bore easily.

A Room Beyond has been released in several chapters. Playing through one chapter will unlock the next. Most of the time the chapters end with quite a cliffhanger! Starting a new chapter will give a recap of the previous one, and will introduce you to the next location you’ll explore. One chapter is usually one environment consisting of a few locations where you need to solve puzzles. This really helps in making the puzzles a bit less complicated: you are contained within one chapter’s locations instead of in an open world, so if you are unsure of how to solve a puzzle you’ll only have a few locations to investigate in search of clues.

A Room Beyond screen 4

Conclusion

A Room Beyond is a good game for people who are a fan of the classic point & click puzzle adventures from the 80s and the 90s, like Sam & Max and Maniac Mansion. The story is really interesting and the characters are fun, so you keep going back to the game to play another episode. The graphics are stylish but take some getting used to, but the fact that you’ll see everything useful clearly marked by pressing one button, basically fixes any problem you might have with the graphics. The puzzles are good, often challenging, and varied. If this is a genre you like, you’ll get many hours of fun out of this title!

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Rating: 9.5/10 (2 votes cast)
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A Room Beyond - Review, 9.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Anmaja
Anmaja


I'm a LARP writer, freelance teacher and everlasting PhD student, and an avid gamer. Nowadays I game mostly on PC, but I love my retro playstation 1 & 2 as well :) I like watching anime, movies and series, and read books & comics whenever I have time!

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