Oxide Room 104
Let's Play A Game...
Let me get this out of the way and say that when it comes to games that reach "so hilariously bad it's good" levels of horror camp, Oxide Room 104 easily takes first place. Another game in the Perp Games catalog, Oxide Room 104 comes after singing the praises of Lake. Both games, rated Mature on the ESRB mind you, are like night and day in terms of everything. By the end of the first hour, I'll admit that I didn't get far in the game. I did spend as much time as I could exploring the overall semantics of the hotel itself. It's not a bad game by design, it has many unique traits going for it.
The story begins with our protagonist, Matt, driving in the rain on his way to the hotel. He gets a text from his accomplice, warning him that a "job" was a bust and to not return to the hotel. Of course, in typical horror protagonist fashion, Matt doesn't heed this warning and instead enters the hotel where he is knocked unconscious. The game begins with Matt waking up in a tub full of water, locked in a bathroom. The first thing the player will notice that persists throughout the game is the asinine voice acting. This is something I will constantly bring up, but everyone's voice acting is horrendously bad.
When A Game Disengages From Being Scary
Imagine waking up in a bathroom, there's no way to open the door without a key, and the key itself is hidden. This is similar to how Tormented Souls began as well, even down to awakening from a bathtub although a tad bit risque. What Tormented Souls had in being a Resident Evil clone, Oxide Room 104 has elements of games like Silent Hill and The Evil Within. This is, of course rather condensed and linear but it doesn't always mean a bad thing. Until you hear Matt's..."interesting" delivery when it comes to identifying the situation. Wanting to exit from a trapped bathroom doesn't sound as urgent as one would appear. Seeing several horror freakshows at once doesn't get him going either.
Matt is easily one of the most deadpan protagonists I've ever heard in a video game, so much so that I'll link a video showing some of his fantastic work. Any sense of urgency and looming consequences are null and void the moment anyone opens their mouth, be it the Doc or Matt. It turns Oxide Room 104 into a comedy which I genuinely believe was not the intention of the developers. That's not to say that there aren't things that this game does right.
The Many Ways To Die Are Just As Humorous As Its Solutions
The way Oxide Room 104 handles death is interesting as it is a part of the main game's story more than the player realizes. The video posted above shows how interconnected dying is, which I recommend watching if you don't mind spoilers. Otherwise, the flow of the game can only be assumed due to the context it gives you. During the game's "tutorial room," it is possible to die within the first minute by attempting to play the game opposite of its intentions. The solution for leaving the bathroom involves inspecting the drawers for a keycode etched in wood. Using the keycode to unlock the chest on the top shelf reveals a key that opens the second shelf. Opening the shelf will reveal your clothes as well as a key inside your jeans that's used to open the locked bathroom.
The wrong way to solve the puzzle is to brute force your way into the second shelf, in which the recoil from pulling the shelf apart will fling your head back into the bathtub, splitting it open, and give you a bleeding effect. The only way to prevent yourself from dying is to apply bandages on your head, but the only thing in the bathroom is some antidote pills. Irony. Even IF you try to exit the room at this point, a monster will come out of the bathtub and rip your throat apart. If you think that death is silly, then there's plenty of more where that came from.
If At First You Don't Succeed, Try Again, And Again, And Again
Outside of the bathroom, Room 104 is locked and you need to find the key once again. The key is guarded by a centipede and attempting to remove the centipede will cause it to bite the player, which leads to inevitable death once again. If you managed to make it past the bathroom without dying, there are two ways to dispatch the centipede. The first is to find a lockpick, break open a cupboard that contains salt, and pour the salt on the centipede until it dissolves into the aether. The second is to grab the kettle on the stove, go back to the bathroom, leave the sink faucet running, fill the kettle with water, go back to the stove, turn it on, set the kettle on the stove until it steams, then pour the boiling hot water on the centipede until it dissolves into the aether.
If you died at any point, then a cutscene will play with Matt chained into a bathtub as the doctor mocks them before sawing off one of their limbs. Matt wakes up once again in the same bathroom yet things have changed. The bathtub is now a pool of blood, Matt's name written in blood is now missing a letter, and the second shelf is missing. The other way to leave the room is to dip your hand in some questionable fluid in a toilet to retrieve a spare key...
Until You Can't Try Any More
The centipede puzzle is also missing as the solution is now in the cupboard where you pick the lock, revealing the key to the room. The more the player dies, the more limbs they lose in the "real world," which changes the "metaverse" the player is in. This also increases the difficulty of the game as objects that were once there are no longer in existence. Enemies may spawn where they weren't as well as other mind tricks. Sure, it uses the conventional "jump scare" but the acting and the surrealness of the environment lessens the "horror" blow if it makes any sense.
There are multiple endings, which as one can guess are tied to how many times you've "died." Exactly how this all pans out is a spoiler but it encourages you not to die if you wish to have the best ending. Overall Oxide Room 104 is a game I'd recommend buying on sale if only to experience unintentional comedy. Honestly, it's the voice acting that kills any potential of being a thriller although the many unique game mechanics deserves at least a certain amount of praise.
Oxide Room 104 is available on PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S