Cubed3 Nintendo gaming, Wii and DS

Rooms: The Main Building (Nintendo DS) Review

Review for Rooms: The Main Building on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

There are all sorts of different styles of puzzle game on the Nintendo DS now, from the likes of standard crossword and Picross efforts, to point-and-click adventures, and even detective mysteries to solve. Hudson has decided to take a slightly different approach with its latest release, though, bringing over a twist on the old tile-sliding game mechanic for Rooms: The Main Building, and Nintendo has snapped up the rights to the DS version for the European market. Whether it can hold its weight against the wealth of competitors out there, though, is another matter. Cubed3 takes a closer look to see how it shapes up.

After originally working with Big Fish Games (Mystery Case Files: MillionHeir) to create the first Rooms: The Main Building on PC and MAC, Handmade Game has now teamed up with publisher Hudson Soft to transfer the tile-sliding-puzzle formula across to both the Nintendo DS and Wii. Nintendo Europe actively picked up the portable edition and gave it a strong push in the European market a few months ago, seeing massive success thanks to clever advertising, especially in the UK, but does the title deserve all of the attention it received? The answer, quite simply, has to be a resounding ‘yes.’ Anyone who loves brain-teasing, mind-bending fun will be right at home with Rooms: The Main Building and its one hundred stages, intriguing dark storyline, stage editor, challenge modes, and extra trophies to unlock upon completion of the main tale.

The game revolves completely around the classic sliding-tile puzzle mechanic, except Handmade Games has incorporated a macabre story of a man one day receiving what initially appears to be a lovely gift, yet quickly turns into something much more sinister, drawing him into a strange retro-themed underworld complete with unusual mansions where he must solve the mystery of each and every room inside the main buildings in the hope of escaping, all the while being guided along the way by a talking book who seems to have been cursed and is intent on taking his frustrations out on poor, unsuspecting you.

Screenshot for Rooms: The Main Building on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Everything is carried out to good effect in the visual department, with a very retro feel to proceedings, from the old detective appearance of the main character to the film noir-style backdrop, complete with appropriate soundtrack that definitely helps set the mood, with some extremely catchy tunes that will have you humming along whilst trying to polish off the later, exceptionally dastardly rooms. Presentation-wise, the developer has definitely hit the nail on the head, and the transferral from PC to the small DS screen has worked really well. The lower screen can show rooms of up to 3 x 3 squares, therefore when larger rooms come into play, the top screen becomes absolutely essential as it is used to display a complete overview of any arena that you are currently in. This mix of zoomed-out overview on the top screen and zoomed-in viewpoint found on the touch-screen works wonderfully and does not cause any problems throughout.

Screenshot for Rooms: The Main Building on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

In order to help distinguish which of the room tiles are in the correct place or not, players can switch the background imagery off temporarily to see where squares have been moved into the correct position, and which ones still need to be slid around. When perfectly located, the background will not disappear, whilst wrongly placed tiles will turn black and question marks will be seen in locations that need to eventually be filled via more logical, methodical sliding. Whilst the aesthetics are pleasing enough, plus the controls and navigation features are exemplary, the main meat of Rooms: The Main Building is what really grabs your attention and does not let go until the very final room has been cracked.

Merely moving tiles around may sound extraordinarily tiresome for those hoping for a long-lasting, highly entertaining product, yet thankfully Handmade Game is already several steps ahead of the audience. There are all sorts of weird and wonderful elements to be found in the numerous broken pieces of each room of the four mansions you can enter. There are wall-mounted telephone handsets that allow for transportation to other handsets found in parts of the large room, plus mobile phones to allow transportation to an out-of-reach room with a wall-mounted handset, as well as a subway system that only works when rooms with stations in are aligned in the horizontal plane, allowing for transport to any room in that particular row, plus wardrobes that switch the current room you are in with another that has a similar wardrobe in, whilst actually leaving you in the same position.

Screenshot for Rooms: The Main Building on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

The game may grow frustrating at times for some players, however it is the sort of positive annoyance that drives you to the point where you simply have to do nothing else but crack the code. At times players will be faced with doors locked with different coloured padlocks on that correspond to keys you can find around a particular stage, as well as doors that only open one way, or even wooden blockades that can only be removed by using a collected candle to ignite explosives. The amount of attention to detail that has gone into crafting a whole slew of puzzle rooms of varying difficulty is extremely commendable, and part of the fun is in finding out what other room-changing abilities will be thrown up further into the game. With a large batch of puzzles available right from the start, plenty more to unlock the more you play, as well as a whole host of extras, Rooms: The Main Building proves to be a worthy addition to the burgeoning supply of DS games of this genre.

Screenshot for Rooms: The Main Building on Nintendo DS- on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review


The sliding mechanic was almost made for the Nintendo DS, yet rather than throw a whole host of mundane puzzles together, Handmade Game has crafted a massive selection of devious challenges to keep any gamer occupied.


Dark, moody visuals that set the scene nicely for the twisted storyline that accompanies the puzzles. Everything is clear and easy to work through, even on a small DS screen.


Fantastic retro-filled music that complements the gameplay and leaves gamers humming away once certain tunes have successfully lodged themselves in their heads.


With one hundred main puzzles on offer, challenge modes and plenty of extras to unlock, Rooms: The Main Building will keep players busy for many, many hours.

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

About this score
Rated 9 out of 10

Nintendo made a wise choice releasing Rooms: The Main Building in Europe, not merely because it was a sound business decision given the current market trends, but because Hudson / Handmade Game’s DS sliding-tile-puzzler-with-a-twist is a contender for ‘Best in Genre,’ proving to be a highly enjoyable, must-try experience on the Nintendo DS.

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Senior ModeratorStaff Member

I have to admit I thought the same thing at first, but got totally hooked!

There also a room editor to make your own puzzles and share them with friends wirelessly. A nice little extra, as well as time challenges and a limited moves mode.

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Rob (guest) 30.09.2010 18:47#3

I wonder why Nintendo didn't bring over the Wii version as well? The DS game is cool, but the presentation of the Wii Rooms is FAR better. Maybe it'll turn up early next year...

Definitely recommend trying this, though. Hard as nails in the later mansions!!

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