Resident Evil games are infamous nowadays for their ranking systems, revealing how well you performed and how much time your playthrough took. If the modern entries were to also reveal the amount of time spent managing the inventory, you would likely be surprised – it takes a degree of skill and experimentation to place and sort items, combining stockpiles to find extra wiggle room.
Save Room takes this concept and creates a short (1-2 hour) puzzle game around it, playing not unlike a digital Tetromino puzzle – the plastic brain teaser that inspired Alexey Pajitnov to create Tetris. Weapons and consumables must be rotated and combined, and then placed within different-shaped grids.
Forty puzzles feature in total, each lasting around 4-5 minutes – depending on your speed and intellect. All the while, a familiar piano-led haunting melody plays in the background. Controls are kept simple – a single button to rotate, while the X button instantly swaps between the left and right of the screen. This prevents you from having to drag items, increasing the pace a tad.
Things start off simple, as you’d expect, rotating guns, grenades, and ammo so that they slot perfectly within different size inventories. Guns must be fully loaded, and health replenished before finishing a puzzle – with some puzzles commencing with a red health bar.
Then comes combinable items, such as herbs and gunpowder. It’s vital to combine these as required, leaving no spare resources behind – as chances are the inventory won’t have any leftover space once a few shotguns and pistols have been added. If you find yourself with a surplus random herb or similar, puzzles can be restarted instantly. This situation becomes common towards the end.
Adding another twist, it’s occasionally essential to harm yourself by eating rancid food, just so green herbs and first aid spray can then be consumed to free up space. This twist appears around halfway, helping to add an extra layer of depth.
The presentation is authentic to its inspiration. Items can be examined, revealing slowly rotating 3D models, and every item also has a blunt description. There isn’t much in the way of extras, which is perhaps to be expected from a £4.99 download. Speaking of expectations, this is a Ratalaika Games release, meaning achievements/trophies are handed out generously.
While it does share some similarities with Tetris, this sadly doesn’t extend to its famous addictive streak – this isn’t a puzzler designed around score chasing, so once the final teaser has been cracked, you’re unlikely to return.
Resident Evil diehards, puzzler fans, and achievement hunters will still relish their short time with Save Room. If you fall into one of those camps, this is an easy enough recommendation.
Fractal Projects’ Save Room is out now on PS4, Xbox One, and Switch. It first released on PC earlier this year.