You play as Mr. X, a man who is terribly bored on his birthday. A present arrives on his doorstep from a mysterious Mr. Book; inside is an unfinished jigsaw puzzle that teleports him to the alternate world of "Rooms". There, he meets Mr. Book (who really is a book) and is told that he must solve the various puzzles of the Rooms mansions if he wants to create an exit to the real world.
Each of the various sliding puzzles are presented as a variety of square rooms laid out on a black background. The player controls Mr. X, who must reach an exit door by entering different rooms and moving them around. As you progress, Mr. X must also make use of ladders, teleporters, subway stations, gunpowder, and other gimmicks in order to reach the exit.
This game provides examples of:
- Badass Longcoat: Mr. X has a nice black one.
- Chekhov's Gunman: In the good ending, this role is filled by the sleeping trunk that held the first Jigsaw piece, who reveals Mr. Book's plan to Mr. X.
- Cosmetic Award: The trophies.
- Guide Dang It!: Some of the puzzles, especially if you're trying to get Gold rank.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: In the good ending. Mr. Book set a trap on the exit to prevent Mr. X from ever leaving Rooms. But, if he's forced to leave first by Mr. X...
- Hub Level: A street consisting of a garbage can you can store items in, a hotel, a subway station, an antique shop, and (eventually) the exit. Puzzles and menu options are accessed by buttons in the top-left corner of the screen.
- Item Get!: Finishing certain puzzles gives Mr. X an item he can use in the hub, which is presented to the player with some fireworks.
- Multiple Endings: If you don't solve all 80 of the non-Extra puzzles before Mr. X tries to leave Rooms, you get a Bad Ending.
- MacGuffin: The Jigsaw, which is missing four pieces. Finding one unlocks the next set of puzzles, and solving those gives Mr. X the things he needs to find other pieces in the Hub Level. Finding all four pieces creates the exit back to Mr. X's world.
- Plot Coupon That Does Something: When Mr. X gets some items (like a Subway Pass), not only is it needed to find a Jigsaw piece in the hub, it unlocks a new gimmick in the puzzle levels.
- Trickster Mentor: Mr. Book
- Using You All Along: Mr. Book never said that the exit was for YOU...
- Unlucky Everydude: Mr. X.
- We Are Not Going Through That Again: When Mr. X returns home in the good ending, so does the jigsaw that brought him to Rooms. Mr. X promptly throws the thing out and walks outside... But then the garbage can starts shaking.