Sometimes a game just stands out as being a good game right off the bat, and that’s the feeling I got when I started Room13. Developed by The Paper Robot, Room13 is a side scroller shooter game filled with blood and macabre. The game is full of intense action forcing you to make quick decisions. You’ll need fast reflexes as you tear through thirteen different rooms gathering weapons, masks, and body parts. The game is not so much horror as it is action with horror elements added to it for atmosphere, gameplay, and art work.
The game has a basic story that depends on solving who you are and why you have no face. You wake up in some haunted mansion with zombies, monsters, and all sorts of dark creatures while armed with a gun and your fists. Seeking to find answers, you travel through twelve different rooms while finding keys to unlock the thirteenth room. Along the way, you’ll fight “Boss” battles which will give clues and hints to your memory of who you are. The story is simple, but has a bloody feel to it–the feeling you’ve done something, or got involved in something sinister in your life and forgot. Waking up in a haunted and monster infested area with traps and no face is quite an interesting way to start the game.
The real focus of the game is on gameplay and there is a lot of it. First, there are twelve different rooms you fight in (the thirteenth one is locked and needs keys to open) and during each round in a room you must kill a set of zombie-like creatures. Killing them will unleash organs to collect which are needed to fill up the meter in the lower right-hand side. Once the meter is filled, the round ends. The bigger the organs or the more important they are (like hearts and brains) the faster it fills up, and sometimes they will appear in the level for you to collect on your own. You have two ways of fighting, shooting and melee. Shooting uses up ammo, which you can collect in boxes along with health, so you’ll have to aim your shots perfectly. While you will always have your fists as melee weapons you can pick up weapons like axes and wrenches that can be used to bash the zombies, but they have limited uses. After clearing a room, you get a short breather where you can collect items, upgrades for your gun, health and ammo, keys, or move to a new room before the next round starts.
The upgrades are the best part of the game as there are hundreds of combinations you can get for your gun. Some will increase the stakes like power, ammo clip, speed, while others will add explosive tips, machine gun fire, or shotgun like action for your gun. You must choose wisely and sometimes experiment to find the right gun style that suits you. The other custom items are the masks, which provide special abilities in game such as floating, baiting enemies, hiding from them, causing extra damage or increasing health. You can only have one face, however, unlike your gun which can hold multiple upgrades, so when you switch you lose that face for good.
The art style of the game is what helps the game stand out with its dark and creepy atmosphere, while also showing off blood as the only main color besides black and white. It’s a very gothic look with a grim feeling of despair lurking in a mansion of death and carnage. The monsters are very well detailed, but the bosses are perfect in their monstrous appearances. The controls take some time to get used to, especially when going up and down the stairs, but you’ll soon get the hang of them.
Besides the story mode, there is an arcade mode where you just kill monsters and gather stronger upgrades until your defeated to get a high score, allowing you the chance to skip any of the story stuff and go straight into the action. With a great art style, fantastic gameplay, and interesting concept, Room13 is a very addicting game to play and I give it an 8 out of 10.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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