Save Room might be the most “obviously a fan game but technically not” game in some time. It’s clearly a Resident Evil fan game, utilizing the presentation of the series’ older games and basing its entire concept on the attaché case item management from Resident Evil 4. You’re given a limited grid, and a variety of items to fit within it. You start off with weapons and boxes of ammo types, but more items are added as you progress through the game’s 40 puzzles including health restoratives, grenades, ammo powder and more.
In addition, you’re encouraged to combine items to clear up space, such as loading ammo into their respective weapon type, and later puzzles will require you do things in a certain order or you’ll have to start over. Combined with how items can only be rotated at 45-degree angles and can’t be flipped, there are plenty of restrictions that make puzzles tricky and get you thinking on how to solve them.
There’s a good sense of pacing with the puzzles, varying up how simple or complex the grid layout and your item loadouts are from level to level. Some stages have multiple solutions, while others have one specific method to beating them. This provides plenty of reason to keep playing, which is enjoyable enough to do thanks to how satisfyingly tactile it is move and rotate items, combine them, and more until you’ve finally cracked it.
The controls work well, even adding a button to quickly swap between the attaché case and your loadout on the sidebar, but they become rather awkward when you’re constantly moving things around. Thankfully, you can use either the keyboard or the mouse, making it easier to grab and move items, though you can’t swap between the control schemes seamlessly and you can’t automatically swap items when using the mouse. The console ports sadly have less options, lacking the ability to rebind the controls and the Switch version doesn’t allow for touchscreen usage in handheld mode.
Perhaps the only issue with Save Room is that it doesn’t take long to beat its 40 puzzles; only taking an hour or two at most; and there aren’t any bonus puzzles or even a puzzle creator to dig your teeth into afterwards. But at the same time, that also means it’s a breezy game that plays around with various ideas and doesn’t overstay its welcome. It knows what it wants to be – a Resident Evil 4 item management puzzle game – and delivers exactly that.
The presentation helps with this a good deal. The UI takes strongly from Resi 4‘s menu screens, and the items sourced from various model packs match the game’s realistic artstyle. But the star here is the sound work by Tatyana Jacques, who provides ambient piano music inspired by the famous save room themes and clicky sound effects which combined capture the vibe of sorting out items while in a save room. There’s even a deep voice that growls the game’s name whenever you start playing, and if that’s not a reason to check out Save Room, it’s impossible to say what is.
The Steam page for Save Room: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1955330/Save_Room__Organization_Puzzle/