Bristol, Apr 2018
The Fourth Samurai tells the tale of some samurais, another samurai, a meteor that fell to earth, and a beautiful sword.
The room is clean, minimalist, brightly lit, and spacious. Beautiful decorations and very few red herrings make the game fun to play. The puzzles could have been harder, and there could have been a little more content to the room (we finished it as a pair with 1 new player and no hints in a little over half an hour) – but it’s worth playing for what there is, because what there is is fun!
Everything begins with a neat physical task that leads into the main playing area – and each step of the way, the puzzles and tasks intuitively flow to the next. There’s room for a little more feedback on occasion – we were a little confused about when we’d completed a couple of the tasks (or if a particular task was the one referred to in a clue we’d found), and what their effects were – but a little poking around after completing those particular tasks led to results pretty quickly!
Background music and sound effects play an important part in immersion, and the game’s atmosphere didn’t disappoint.
There’s a lot to recommend this room, despite its short playing time. Do play.
I’d add a warning that this is a room well suited to playing as a pair, which could work less with with a bigger group – an early puzzle could become a frustrating bottleneck, since it’s potentially time consuming and can only be tackled by one person at a time, and the rest is fairly linear. Most enthusiast pairs will also find it an entirely approachable level of difficulty.
Playing the same game on a later occasion and in a different location (Oxford), I found the aesthetics quietly appealing. You probably won’t be raving about how it looks months afterwards, but they’ve created a pleasant space to play in, with background audio that keeps you from getting too relaxed without becoming intrusive. For such an apparently sparse layout there’s a surprising amount of search to do, and the zero-padlock design complements the uncluttered space.
Perhaps it could make a little less use of clues in the form of messages on paper scrolls, but I found it an enjoyable if slightly short game to play through, with good production values and a satisfying finish.