Oxide Room 104
Oxide Room 104 opens with the protagonist, Matt, waking up naked, injured, and very confused in a grubby motel bathroom. The good news is that he appears to still have all of his organs, which is always a concern in these types of situations. Unfortunately, the bad news is that the Night Soul Motel is no ordinary motel, and making his escape will not be as simple as walking out of the front door.
With Oxide Room 104, developer WildSphere has created a horror game that is fused with escape room gameplay. Players are tasked with helping Matt escape the terrifying hotel, but this is easier said than done when every room appears to be locked. To make matters worse, the motel also seems to have an unfortunate monster infestation along with some nasty traps that can quickly put an end to Matt’s escape plans.
The Night Soul Motel consists of three floors with various rooms, and there’s no telling what Matt might find behind each one. Sometimes Matt will encounter puzzles; sometimes, he will find a horrible monster, and often it will be a combination of the two. Typically the aim is to find keys and items that will allow Matt to unlock new rooms and areas of the Motel. If players are lucky, they might also find bullets, bandages, and antidotes that can help Matt stay alive in the process.
Since Matt is incapable of melee attacks, his only source of protection is a handgun that can be found early in the game. However, most monsters take almost a full clip to die, so often, it is better to sneak around them to conserve ammo as they rely on sound, not sight. Unfortunately, the cramped rooms of the motel mean one misstep can cause mayhem and leave Matt bleeding profusely even if he survives. If players are not quick enough to apply bandages or don’t have any available, Matt will die. Interestingly, death is not the end in Oxide Room 104, at least not right away. Instead, Matt will have an encounter with the primary antagonist, who then demonstrates why the game has a mature content warning for intense violence as well as blood and gore.
After being admonished for his failure, Matt will wake up back in the bathtub of room 104, ready to continue his escape attempt. This can happen a few times, but as expected, these second chances come at a cost. Not only will dying prevent players from seeing the “good” ending of the game, but things will also change in subtle and not-so-subtle ways.
Items might be in different locations, puzzles changed, enemies more numerous, and the whole experience a little darker and more disturbing. It is an interesting mechanic and ensures players stay on their toes throughout the adventure. However, certain situations can be a little unfair, such as killing a monster only to have another immediately appear after picking up an item. Players who do not pay attention to their surroundings might also find themselves dying in very abrupt and unexpected ways. Nevertheless, the overall experience was entertaining enough that we never hesitated to come back for more until we managed to get the good ending.
Although Oxide Room 104 is an indie title, it is clear that a lot of effort went into the visual side of things. It even supports ray-tracing and NVIDIA DLSS for players with compatible hardware. Despite some repetition in terms of how some rooms look and what they contain, the motel is wonderfully creepy and filled with all kinds of disturbing sights. In addition to copious amounts of blood, the game also contains nudity and rather horrifying enemy designs. Even though there are not many of them, the enemies in this game look like they could have been just as at home in a Silent Hill title. In fact, the whole game has a very Silent Hill feel to it, especially after Matt dies a few times and things become really weird.
The soundtrack for Oxide Room 104 is a good match for the horror content in the game and is supplemented by all kinds of disturbing sound effects and blood-curling screams. Unfortunately, the English voice acting leaves a lot to be desired as Matt sounds much too unperturbed by some of the situations he encounters. This results in the voice acting sounding very flat and unnatural, lending the game a b-movie quality. However, for the most part, the game has a very creepy atmosphere, and the audio plays a prominent role in this. It is also reasonably light on jump scares, which most players will appreciate.
Oxide Room 104 is played entirely in first person; as such, the controls are pretty much what players would expect from the genre. We had no trouble navigating Matt around the hotel and shooting the occasional monster, but the inventory system proved to be a bit more cumbersome. While the game has mouse support for looking around, there is no cursor when opening your inventory. Instead, players must use their keyboard to scroll through everything or select options such as “use” or examine.” It’s not a dealbreaker, but it does feel like the interface was designed primarily for controllers and not for a keyboard and mouse. This can also be seen in the quick-time events that sometimes crop up and require players to follow a few simple prompts. Something else players might grumble at is the limited inventory space that Matt has, which can quickly be filled up with keys, healing items, his gun, and bullets. There are ways to increase his inventory space, but players will often have to take trips to the various storage boxes scattered around the motel to swap around items.
Overall, Oxide Room 104 is a relatively short but memorable experience with a lot of replay value. We liked that many of the puzzles have multiple solutions and that even with repeat playthroughs, we were still seeing and discovering new things. Most of the story is revealed through notes from Matt, a woman named Eva, and someone who refers to themselves as “Evil,” scattered everywhere. A lot of these are somewhat cryptic but add to the intrigue and put a new perspective on some things. It is also worth sticking around to the end for some interesting twists. Oxide Room 104 has some rough edges but offers a fresh experience in a genre notorious for derivative titles, and cheap jump scares. It is something all horror fans should try out and comes highly recommended.
- Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
- OS: Windows 64-bit
- Processor: Intel Core2 Duo or equivalent AMD
- Memory: 4 GB RAM
- Graphics: DirectX11 compliant card with 1GB of VRAM
- DirectX: Version 11
- Storage: 4 GB available space
- Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system