BioShock Challenge Rooms

BioShock Challenge Rooms

BioShock Challenge Rooms

Room to improve.

It says something about the impact of a game when downloadable content for it comes prefaced with a plot continuity disclaimer. BioShock's Challenge Rooms, which was released exclusively for the PlayStation 3 last week for GBP 6.29, does just that.

These three self-contained arenas - one focused on combat, the other two on puzzles and exploration - do not, we are explicitly told, form part of the BioShock storyline. They are a "BioShock product", intended to be enjoyed entirely on their own merits. It seems obvious, but it's probably worth saying all the same. The antique beauty, melancholy atmosphere and dark philosophising of 2K Boston's game have so enraptured some players that they could get lost looking for meaning in the simplest non-sequitur.

In fact, they needn't have worried. Despite their odd rules, these three scenarios could quite easily have slotted into the main game's grand narrative as interludes. Atmospherically, they're perfect. A sinister "Chamber of Thrills" theme neatly ties the Challenge Rooms into BioShock's world. A ruined, malfunctioning carnival fairground, where a deranged ringmaster sets twisted and tortuous tests of cunning, makes sense and strikes a chord with Rapture's fallen utopia.

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