Rooms: The Main Building

Game review by
Harold Goldberg, Common Sense Media
Rooms: The Main Building Game Poster Image
Sliding puzzles combined with a mystery for brainy fun.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

There is no direct message as such. But the unstated message is one that's key for all players whether they're kids or adults. If you keep trying, you will succeed. In this case, if you keep trying, you'll escape and get to go home. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

You direct a character to find their way through the puzzle rooms. You become the role model and you must use logic to solve each puzzle.

Ease of Play

Sliding the pieces of puzzles around is easy to learn. But it's difficult to master because the puzzles get harder and harder.

Violence & Scariness

To solve these puzzles, you sometimes enter rooms rigged with explosives or filled with water. If you don't have to right tools to deal with hazards, you fall over while groaning and have to start the puzzle again.


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Rooms: The Main Building can be both addicting in that you don't want to stop solving the puzzles, and frustrating when you find a puzzle that's difficult to solve. However, Rooms is as stimulating to the mind as any of the Brain Games that Nintendo released a few years ago. It keeps you thinking, and you think about it even when you're away from the game. There is some mild violence if you enter a room with explosives unprepared. You simply fall over and have to restart the puzzle.

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What's it about?

Rooms: The Main Building riffs on the theme of those plastic slider puzzles that you probably played as a kid. You take on the role of the mysterious Mr. X, a cloaked character who moves dutifully through each room, ever trying to find the keys to his eventual freedom. You collect things in one room to use later in others. The other character involved is a kind of book that's almost a grimoire because it sometimes gives you cryptic hints on how move forward in the game. Because the game is light on narrative, you'll find yourself making up your own stories about Mr. X, the crazy, sometimes claustrophobic rooms, and that very strange tome.

Is it any good?

Rooms: The Main Building began as an award-winning Flash game in 2007. Now a DS and Wii game, the DS version shines for its portability. You don't have to stop playing if you're not near a computer. What's intriguing about the long series of rooms and their moody, dark designs is the inventiveness you need to progress from one to the other. Not only are you required to slide the pieces around to make your escape. You also collect mysterious treasures from creaky old chests you find in the rooms (which help you with the puzzles ahead). The rooms come in all shapes and sizes and sometimes extend to the subway or an antique shop. At one point, you have to wake a sleeping treasure chest by using an item you've found called the Stinky Wood Chip, an odd but hilarious name for an inventory item.

After you've finished the 100 levels, you can try again by ramping up the difficult and using a timed mode, or by restricting the number of panel movements. The replayability doesn't end there. With the level editor, you can make your own puzzles, too. It's a game full of hours of fun - in addition to the occasional frustration of being unable to solve a puzzle.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about which puzzles are the most difficult to solve?

  • What would you do if you were trapped in a mansion with many rooms?

  • What do you think of the talking book? Is it cool or creepy? Why?

  • Do you like the music? Or do you feel it's too repetitive?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love puzzles

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