Quickie Review: One Week, My Room

Developer: Joyato

Gaming Client: Itch.io


A short, bittersweet story, “One Week, My Room” tells of a middle school-aged boy and the bleakness of the life he lives alone in his bedroom. In the span of a week, the story of the boy’s sad life circumstances come to light as you, the boy’s “imaginary friend”, choose one task for him to perform per day. It’s a puzzle in three parts: learning more about the boy and how he ended up a recluse, figuring out how to keep him alive for the full week, and ultimately getting him the help he needs so that the final day of the game isn’t his final day, as well.

OneWeekMyRoom

You can learn several things about the boy’s little world in your first playthrough: it’s the week following Christmas and he’s all alone; he keeps a diary of his thoughts and feelings (which is vital for helping him); he’s still in school (or, rather he was, until he got bullied so badly he stopped going 6 months ago); he has a mother he loves very much (but has a strained relationship with), and someone he refers to as his “older brother” (considering this game was popular in Japan, “older brother” can either be taken literally or can also refer to an older male acquaintance); and he loves a radio talk show that plays every Saturday, and is emotionally attached to it (to the point of claiming he’ll kill himself if it ever gets cancelled… Guess what happens on the 7th day?). The boy is living primarily off of convenience store meals, and his only friend seems to be the doll he sleeps next to every night. Great start to finding out how to help him, but the first week didn’t go so easy for me: there’s a hole in the wall large enough for an adult to crawl through, and his diary mentions his “older brother” coming to visit him during the week. I soon find out that his “older brother” is a pitch-black monster with sharp fangs who devours him before the weekend. Week 1 ends in a premature murder, so I have to learn to push the dresser in front of the hole the night before. That’s essentially what this game boils down to: find out about the boy, learn about the little eccentricities of the room, and keep him alive by manipulating his actions and his environment. Doing things too soon or too late could mean the difference between learning something new or triggering a necessary action too late to help him.

Each time the game ends, you unlock a pair of “tips”, articles related to the life of the boy or the people in his life. The first week I played, I unlocked an article about a middle school-aged boy who jumped off a balcony to his death a week after Christmas, which was odd considering he’d become monster chow 2 days prior (unless that was symbolism for sex abuse, in which case, yeesh). The premature death teaches me to push the dresser into the right spot on the right day, and he lives to see his suicide the following Saturday, unlocking more tips. The game is about exploration, and although you force the end of a day by interacting with a room element, you’re still free to visually explore things and take in the environment. It’s short and simple, and once you’ve figured out how to get the best ending, you really have no reason to continue playing (unless you’re a completionist and want to see all of the tips; I got the best ending before I found the last 2 notes). “One Week, My Room” is a brief but heartfelt way of addressing the loneliness and isolation created by bullying, neglect and depression, and I recommend it for anyone who enjoys emotional stories or just has 10 minutes to kill.

Pros:

  • Cute artwork
  • Free-to-play
  • Addresses neglect and suicide respectfully
  • Touches on the rarely discussed topic of childhood depression
  • Nice music
  • Has a hopeful ending, but you have to work for it

Cons:

  • There’s no clear indicator of what you have to do to get more tips (besides ending the week)
  • Poorly translated in some parts
  • After getting the best ending, I didn’t feel the need to continue playing, even though there was still content to unlock.
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