The speed at which games can now spawn new genres and imitators is surprising, even to this long time gamer who’s seen dozens of trends come and go. The latest seems to be the organisational puzzle genre which was spawned by Unpacking earlier this year. At the time they didn’t really grab my interest, that was until I saw one that clearly inspired by Resident Evil’s inventory system, something that triggered a wave of nostalgia for all the inventory optimising I did back in the day. Save Room is a simple premise: organise your inventory to maximise the usable space you have before you progress onto the next level. Simple enough, right?

For the first 10 levels or so it’s a pretty straightforward endeavour, you just have to figure out which bits go where and what ammunition fits what guns. From there the difficulty starts to gradually increase by adding in additional mechanics that you’ll need to make use of in order to progress. These can be simple things like combining herbs in the right order to save the most amount of space, crafting additional ammunition or even, and this was one of my favourite things, hurting yourself with bad food so you can use a healing item to get it back up again.

There’s really not much more to it than that and you’ll likely land on the standard approach to solve any puzzle pretty quickly: craft all the ammunition you can, load all your guns, figure out the maximum amount of health uses (both up and down) and from there simply play the game of tetris until you get everything together. To be sure you’ll have to restart a couple times after you’ve done the crafting parts when you figure out that you actually needed to craft X instead of Y, but that’s usually a quick process to get through. Once you’ve completed all the consumable steps the only other thing you need to do to make sure the puzzle is solvable is to count the spaces remaining and the number of squares you can fill.

Whilst I can appreciate that there’s a certain beauty in simplicity to this game it does feel like there’s ample opportunity to add to the experience here without detracting too much. A different endless mode which is actually influenced by your inventory management skills between levels seems like a good one, and something that could likely be whipped up rather easily with a procedural generation engine. There’s also no narrative to speak of, mostly because it’s already flying too close to Capcom’s IP already, but again a simple one in a “campaign” mode or similar could work quite well.

There’s a couple quality of life improvements that could be made as well. Most notably would be the use of mouse based movement as moving things one square space at a time is honestly way more laborious than it needs to be. I get wanting to be true to the “original” experience but really, it’s 2022, we can have nice interfaces. It would also be handy to have a counter of empty spaces/spaces to place, so you know in an instant whether or not you’re in a solvable state. Apart from those couple things though, the game has pretty much everything it needs for the experience it delivers.

Save Room is quite the niche game: an organisation puzzle for those of us who loved the Resident Evil series. That being said though the game seems to have done well enough for itself regardless, showing that both this new genre and fans of Resident Evil share a healthy cross section for an experience like this. Would I recommend it? Not generally no, but if you happen to fall into that part of the venn diagram I just described then why not.

Rating: 7.5/10

Save Room is available on PC right now for $2.95. Total play time was 2.1 hours with 93% (it was 100% until the devs added 2 more achievements, the bastards) of the achievements unlocked.

About the Author

David Klemke

David is an avid gamer and technology enthusiast in Australia. He got his first taste for both of those passions when his father, a radio engineer from the University of Melbourne, gave him an old DOS box to play games on.

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