If you’re anything like us then you’ll have spent more time than you care to think about over the many Resident Evil games organising the inventory space to within an inch of its life. The more you can cram in there, the better your chances of making it through the survival horror game alive. Of course, you need to leave a bit of room to pick other items up, but it generally is all about maximising the carrying capacity. Save Room is here to replicate exactly that experience… though without the pressures of getting your neck chewed off by zombies. Does it manage to satisfy the inner packing master in all of us?
The premise of Save Room is very simple, and there’s no frills in its presentation, it purely offers you up an inventory space, a number of items, and asks that you make it all fit together to complete the challenge. Guns, first aid and ammo are the key things that need squaring away, and what starts out as a simple drag and drop to empty locations soon becomes a lesson in tessellation and logical thinking as it gets progressively harder. Finding out which items interact, what order they need to be done in, and whether there are any external factors for consideration are as much part of the puzzle elements as the space management itself. By ridding itself of the pesky matter of the rest of a Resident Evil style game, its ultra focus makes it a joy to work through.
Success in each level is based on getting everything packed and making sure that health is topped up and all weapons are reloaded. Introducing these ideas early on not only means you can reduce the number of items to fit in – bullets can take space up in a gun, rather than next to it; but also think about how you can clear some of the clutter before working out how to get everything in place. This idea of using the items in the inventory leads to some really nice revelatory moments that provide that wonderful “I solved something” feeling that good puzzle games use to drip feed your interest, and Save Room certainly does this well.
Whilst the presentation is bare bones, the brain strain isn’t, and even though there’s nothing too complicated Save Room definitely makes you think. The main screens look like they’re straight from Capcom’s signature series, and the accompanying background sound effects have you imagining that you’re tucked away in a safe space using the calm to get yourself together before heading back into the nightmare world. It’s atmospheric and nails all the right points without fully committing copyright theft. With 40 levels to go through it won’t take too long to complete, and that’s about the only complaint I’d have – it would have been good to get more, though that in itself runs the risk of losing some of the quick fix appeal.
Save Room is a great example of straight forward and effective puzzle game production, and leaning on a popular series to make it familiar is a wonderful hook. Its low price and ease of entry on any platform should be reason enough to pick it up, and there’s no way you should miss out in the run up to the Resident Evil 4 Remake… you’ll need the inventory management practice.
A PS5 review copy of Save Room was provided by Fractal Project’s PR team, and the game is out now on PC, PlayStation, Switch and Xbox for around £5.