Of the many gameplay mechanics that have been a staple of the “Resident Evil” series, item management has been a big one. The fact that you can only carry so many items with you at a time is actually something that dates back to the Famicom game that inspired it, “Sweet Home.” You have to carefully plan what items you’re going to take with you and if you guess incorrectly, you may have to do some backtracking. “Resident Evil 4” threw a twist into this though by making your inventory into an attaché case where you can move things around in order to fit in the case. This added an almost puzzle like quality to things where proper organization meant you might be able to carry more things with you. Well, that game came out in 2005 and 17 years later, someone turned that experience into a separate game.
“Save Room” is a very simple game built on a very simple premise: fit all of your stuff into the attaché case. It makes no effort to disguise its taking inspiration from “Resident Evil 4” considering that the guns and items are all knock-offs from the survival-horror game and even the mixing of green, red, and yellow herbs becomes part of the gameplay here. In that sense you may need some knowledge of the game in order to properly approach these puzzles since the game does nothing to really explain things to you at all. It seems to assume that the reason you’re playing it is because you’ve played “Resident Evil 4,” heard about this game, and want to experience the novelty of it.
Which is basically what this title is, a novelty. While clearly there was some thought put into it in terms of staying true to the “Resident Evil 4” formula, it kind of comes off as a cheaply made Flash game that you would’ve found on Newgrounds back in the day. The menu interfaces are incredibly basic, there are only 40 puzzles total and it doesn’t do much at all to rise above the level of just being entirely adequate at what it does.
As an example of what the game doesn’t explain, nowhere does it tell you that there’s actually objectives besides just fitting things into the case; all of your guns must be at least partially loaded. Also, you must be at full health before the level can end. Yes, even though you won’t do any shooting or fighting, your guns still have an ammunition counter and you still have the classic “Resident Evil” EKG meter that goes from green, to yellow, to red, to dead. You’ll only discover these conditions have to be met if you try to end a level without them being fulfilled.
The nice about this at least is how it adds a bit more depth to the puzzles; having to meet these requirements adds enough of an extra wrinkle into things to make you think a bit more about what you’re doing. “Save Room” also throws in something from other “Resident Evil” titles that actually wasn’t in “4,” the mixing of gunpowder. This title presents three types of gunpowder you can mess around with, red, green, and blue. Mixing them together produces various types of ammunition. Mix the wrong types though and you’ll have too much of the wrong ammunition and you won’t be able to meet either the space or ammo requirements to finish the level. Fortunately, restarting a level is just a button click away.
I hesitate to call “Save Room” either good or bad because it accomplishes what it sets out to do, it just does it in a bare minimum way. Granted it’s not like this is a huge project that had a massive team working on it, but then again you also have games like “Undertale,” “Cave Story,” and “Stardew Valley” that were all made by a single person. In that sense, I feel like only 40 puzzles is kind of a joke even if the game only costs $4.99. In contrast to that, the PlayStation Store is selling “Resident Evil 4” for 19.99 and that one actually let’s you shoot the guns. So, you know, do with that information what you will.
The bones of something fun is definitely here but sparse enough to where it’s much easier to see what could’ve been compared to what is. Ideally this title should have closer to 150 stages and a way to create your own puzzles and share them online. Even something like a time attack mode would be welcome so you have to try and solve the puzzles under duress. Something of more substance would’ve helped elevate this title from being passable to substantive. Ultimately, I was able to finish everything the game had to offer in about an hour and a half with no reason to go back and play it again.
“Save Room” is not a bad game but it is aggressively mediocre and lacking in content. If you’re fine with that then you should be able to enjoy it while it lasts, it’s just a shame it doesn’t go as far with the mechanics as it could’ve or should’ve.