The Room by Fireproof Games icon

As I mentioned yesterday, the App Store is closed for the holidays between Dec. 21 and 28, so we’re spending that time sharing some fantastic apps that we may have missed. I told you all about Girls Like Robots, and now I’m following up with another app that’s gotten a lot of press lately – The Room.

The Room ($1.99) from Fireproof Studios is an iPad only puzzle escape game which first came out in September. Its creepy vibe, mysterious plot line and intuitive gameplay caused it to shoot up to the top of the App Store charts quickly, and by the end of 2012, Apple had voted it the best iPad game of the year.

So what’s this game all about? Primarily, it’s a game of mystery, starring a beautiful but strange box that’s filled with a never ending stream of secrets, hidden behind locks, levers, dials, and more.

The Room by Fireproof Games screenshot

When the game begins, you will awaken trapped in a single room, that is empty save for the box and a note, explaining that you need to uncover its secrets by manipulating and exploring different parts of the box.

This is a tactile game, which is one of the major reasons why it’s so incredibly immersive. Interaction with the box means touching, swiping, and dragging in particular ways to access new areas. For example, as the game starts you are presented with a key, which you must drag to your inventory.

The key opens a small container that is on top of the box, so you need to line up the key with the opening, and then turn it to physically unlock the container. That is how the game works – you will be continually interacting with different elements on the screen to uncover the mysteries of the box.

I don’t want to spoil any of the plot, but the box has layer after layer of puzzles to solve, and to move on, you will locate the lock on each part of the box and then uncover the way to unlock the box.

The Room by Fireproof Games screenshot

While some of the solutions to the locks lie in plain sight, others must be uncovered through the mysterious hidden world accessed by an eyepiece that you put together as one of your first actions in the game. The hidden world is decorated with strange signs and symbols designed to help you figure out the puzzles.

The eyepiece allows you to uncover these secret parts of the puzzle, and is accessed by tapping on it. You can explore the box in a similar way, swiping to pan around, double tapping to zoom in on items, and pinching to zoom back out. The controls are intuitive and easy to use, which means you can focus just on the gameplay.

It’s also worth mentioning that the graphics are gorgeous, and the soundtrack has just the right amount of creepiness to draw you into the game. Solving the puzzles in The Room can be a tricky prospect, but exploration never gets tiring. If you get completely stuck, there is a hint system in place that will help you move on through the game.

Though I loved The Room and its series of tactile puzzles, I did think that it ended both too abruptly and too quickly. I was hoping for more gameplay and a more satisfying conclusion to the game, but maybe that’s something that will be delivered in an update.

All in all, If you haven’t yet played The Room, this is a great time to download it. It’s on sale for $1.99, and the immersive gameplay experience will keep definitely keep you occupied this weekend.