Though he’s toyed with escape games for years, Turkish developer Maruf Nebil didn’t get hooked on the genre until 100 Floors hit the App Store in 2012. When The Room Two upped the ante with gorgeous 3-D environments a year later, Nebil set himself a devilish task: To create an unbeatable game that was also undeniably beautiful.
“I decided to make my game the hardest of all of them,” the 25-year-old developer said, with perhaps an evil laugh. “It’s like all 100 floors in a single room.”
While some games in this genre are about as fun and fulfilling as one of those “spot the hidden object” puzzles from a Highlights magazine, others prove truly challenging.
Some might say this type of game is purely for masochists, but others get lost in the obtuse challenge of finding hidden objects and solving maddening puzzles, all while trapped within a virtual room.
Nebil designed most of the game on paper and in his mind. He wanted to start developing soon after, but realized ha had no 3-D experience at all. Since The Room was created in Unity, a video game graphics engine, Nebil decided to start learning in July of this year.
It took him about four months to make The Impossible Room. Nebil spent nothing on development — besides his own time and effort — but he did have to take some freelance jobs to make ends meet. The final cost, if he were charging for it, would be about $5,000.
Because this was his first project, he had some technical difficulties with the puzzles, but the major challenge was creating amazing graphics.
“I tried to make it as cool as The Room,” he said, “but I couldn’t make it.”
Nebil still asserts that his puzzles are the hardest and most unique on the App Store.
“Even the room-escape masters have no idea on some puzzles because they haven’t seen anything like this before,” he bragged.
The players seem to agree, with comments on Google Play like this one from Lalit Gaur, who says that this game is “Driving me nuts! Carp (sic), it’s a collection of lock and locks and locks not even a single hint where to start from.”
Another player calls it an “Awesome puzzle game!”
“Super challenging. The fact there’s no hints makes this more interesting and impossible,” says Amir Salach.
Nebil didn’t want to take advantage of players by offering hints for in-app purchase (IAP) micro-transactions. Instead, he went with an advertising business model, with only one IAP available, to let players remove ads.
“I don’t want people to depend on hints,” he said. “I want them to use every single option possible to escape from The Impossible Room. They are searching on Google when some of the puzzles ask them interesting facts, they opened Facebook groups, and are spamming me for hints.”
Some of the puzzles in the room require real-world research as well. One level even has some players consulting the head of a Masonic Temple to find a solution.
All of this has Nebil both pleased and a little amused.
“While I watch their frustration, I’m playing Crossy Roads and Dumb Ways to Die on my iPhone,” he said.