The Room 4: Old Sins Review

Puzzles & Rooms

General Info

Release Date(s):
Mobile: Jan 25, 2018
PC: Feb 11, 2021
Rating: E
Developer: Fireproof Games
Publisher: Fireproof Games
Platform I Played On: PC
Platform(s) Available On: PC, Mobile
Genre(s): Puzzle, Point & Click

Synapsis

Taken from Official Site:
The Room 4: Old Sins • Fireproof Studios (fireproofgames.com)

The Room 4: Old Sins features a strange, multi-room dollhouse to explore and continues the engaging puzzle gameplay of its predecessors set against the background of a tragic story concerning the sudden disappearance of an ambitious engineer and his high-society wife which provokes the hunt for a precious artefact. The trail leads to the attic of their home, and the discovery of an old, peculiar dollhouse…

Explore unsettling locations, follow obscure clues and manipulate bizarre contraptions to uncover the mysteries within Waldegrave Manor.

Why You Should Play: The Short Version

>> Puzzles!

>> Interesting how puzzles connect

>> Fun game to play for an evening or two

First Impressions

Beware there may be minor spoilers below depending on one’s qualification of a spoiler. Read at your own risk. In my opinion, this review should not spoil any new player’s experience with the game~

Disclaimer: This is my HOBBY blog with my own opinions, please take that into consideration~

Some of my early video game memories are from the point & click genre and typically featured some aspect of puzzle solving. I was in the mood for a puzzle game and decided to check out The Room 4: Old Sins. I started out with the fourth game in the series because… why not? When looking at various puzzle games offered many people to praise the puzzles in this game, so I decided to give it a go.

The game starts off with you in an attic and takes you through a tutorial of how the game works. You are a nameless person who is on some sort of mission. In the tutorial you find out that the house you are in was home to the mysterious disappearance of a famous engineer and his wife.

The tutorial continues and we find a dollhouse which is a replica of the house we are currently in. We have a unique eyepiece that shows us certain things that cannot be seen by the naked eye. The eyepiece is needed to access the rooms within the dollhouse.

After the tutorial, that explains the basic game mechanics, you then continue doing puzzles and unlocking various rooms of the dollhouse. Other than the tutorial the rooms are not completely isolated from one another. Some parts and pieces you find in one room may be applicable in another.

There are a variety of puzzles present. There are some that are based on observation and which object fits appropriately into a space. There are some that require more thought and memorization of symbols or numbers. There is a balanced variety of puzzles and I was consistently intrigued at how everything in every room was going to connect.

In each room there’s an ancient artifact. Once you find the ancient artifact the room becomes sealed and you no longer have access to it. Typically once you finish one room a new room becomes available after a few puzzles. Typically you have three rooms open at one time.

There is a loose story throughout the game that is told via journals scattered throughout the various rooms in the dollhouse. They are either written by the missing wife or husband depicting certain aspects of how their living situations deteriorated. You also see a few newspaper article clippings in various places that add to the overall lore of the game.

The story is not the focal point of the game. The story was intriguing and I wished we got maybe a few more journals to read from to get a better idea of the house’s decline. However, the story is secondary, the puzzles are the primary reason as to why anyone plays this sort of game. The puzzles were the star of the game.

I was honestly shocked to learn that this game was originally a mobile game. I personally don’t partake in mobile games because they typically lack substance and I’d simply prefer to play on a computer or console. The combination of content and quality is what sets this apart and feels as if the game was always intended to be a computer game instead of a mobile game.

I roughly finished this game in five hours. So, the game itself is quite short. This is perfect for people who want to have a fun evening (or two) playing in a confined setting solving various puzzles. The pacing was correct and I was a bit surprised it only took five hours to complete. I think the time spent of this game was appropriate and wouldn’t have liked it any shorter or longer than the time I spent on it. We gotta give praises for a game that knows how to respect the players interest and time commitment!

Gameplay

Streamlined // Appropriate for Genre // Interaction & Hints

Options: Keyboard

The Room 4: Old Sins is a typical point & click game where you have to click your way around in order to see things and execute the puzzles. I think the mechanics of the game were straight forward. To investigate areas and objects you simply click, to retreat you simply right click your way out of the area of focus. Playing the PC version I have a hard time imagining how this game would play out in a mobile setting. The controls felt so streamlined to a keyboard that it is hard to imagine in a touch screen setting.

There is a high degree of interaction with the puzzles in the game. For example, even when opening a drawer you need to physically pull the handle in order to access it. The game rarely does anything for the player. Even the most subtle movements such as turning book pages or turning knobs are driven by the player.

There are hints in the game for the times when you become stumped. The hints appeared after you click around randomly or the game recognizes you are not getting anything done. There is a question mark icon that appears and you can click it to get two to four hints. The hints are subtle yet guide you to the next step you need to complete. When I needed a hint it was usually due to me not realizing I was missing out on interacting with something in the puzzle. Once I was guided, I usually figured out what I was missing and often thought, “man, how did I miss this before?”.

I was pleasantly surprised by the gameplay. At first, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I found that the degree of interaction to be highly enjoyable. I liked that we were not distanced from the puzzles but right, front, and center to the action.

Graphics, Artistic/Aesthetic Style, & Ambience

PC Visuals // Puzzles & Design // Thunderstorm Ambience

The PC version was enhanced with better graphics, lighting, and streamlined controls. The quality of the visuals and graphics is one of the major reasons I was surprised that the game originally released on a mobile platform. On Steam, there is one trailer that depicts the changes in the visual changes from the original to the PC version. The visuals on the PC version are crisp and clear in comparison to the slightly duller mobile version.

The puzzles are integrated into the overall design of the house and the rooms. Each room has a theme in function are subject matter. For a functional theme room we have the kitchen boasting ovens and washing stations. An example of a subject matter room would be the Nautical room that hosts objects and visuals that depict submarines to the high seas. I really have no complaints and loved that every room was interesting to look at while exploring.

There is a slightly creepy ambience present throughout the entire game. The game does start off with us being in a dark attic in a thunderstorm. The dollhouse itself shows minimal lighting and there are not many vibrant colors in any of the rooms. It is a dark and stormy night, and that is consistent throughout the entirety of the game.

Would I Recommend?

The Room 4: Old Sins is a fun puzzle game with a variety of puzzles with a touch of in-game lore. I really liked the format of slowly unlocking rooms in a dollhouse. You never felt confined or stumped in one room. There is ample opportunity to explore the rooms at one’s leisure. The puzzles throughout the rooms were fun and were often connected throughout multiple rooms. The puzzles ranged from practical ones such as placing gears to logical ones such as proper sequences and memorizing symbols.

I was shocked after playing the game that this was originally a mobile app. I usually never think of mobile games having substance or having intricate graphics. On the company’s website they have stated they wanted to make an indie game feel like a AAA game quality. I think they succeeded because the production of the game is well executed and runs smoothly.

The game is fairly short and self-contained. I finished it in roughly five hours over the course of two days. I never needed to go look for hints online because the in-game hints were sufficient and helpful. The game knows its purpose, a puzzle game, and functions as one would expect a puzzle game to be.

I wouldn’t recommend this game if you don’t like puzzle games. The puzzles are the main focus, so if you don’t like puzzles don’t play. That’s really all I can say.

I would recommend this game if you are one who likes puzzles. There is a nice range of puzzles and the level of interaction one has as a player is extensive. You simply do not click things but are actively involved with pulling drawer handles, turning knobs and dials, to even flipping book pages. I really enjoyed how each puzzle was interconnected with other objects or even rooms. If you like puzzle games and want a great one to two day puzzle extravaganza this game should be well suited for those needs!

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