The Room series has always captivated me with their digital puzzle boxes that feature clever and difficult puzzles. The series originally debuted on mobile, but shortly after made its way to desktop PCs—a trend the series would follow through its latest release The Room: Old Sins, which made its way to Steam today as The Room 4: Old Sins. The Room 4 has really upped the level of intricacy in its puzzles, and also its graphical fidelity with its PC release.
The Room 4: Old Sins is a puzzle game where you play as an investigator working on a case involving the disappearance of an engineer and his wife. What you find instead is a strange dollhouse featuring a series of puzzles. Not content enough to merely have a location with puzzles to solve, The Room 4 frequently features puzzles-within-puzzles. You’ll be spending most of The Room 4: Old Sins interacting with the strange dollhouse. Unlike in previous titles where you would travel from location to location, The Room 4 mostly stays in one place.
Focuses on the dollhouse doesn’t make The Room 4 feel any smaller, though. The dollhouse gives the entire game a sense of continuity, but also gives you the feeling of being in new locations as you “enter” each of its rooms–for this, the series’ ubiquitous eye piece is required. For those unfamiliar, the eyepiece is used to see messages and scenes which are invisible to the naked eye.
Each section of the dollhouse isn’t entirely stand-alone, either. Sometimes you’re required to take an object you find in one room to use in another, or to unlock another section of the dollhouse. This makes some of the puzzles a little less self-contained, and as a result, ups the difficulty a little bit. But as I mention in every review, something that may seem obvious to one player, might be enough to stump another for hours. And I found myself frequently stumped in The Room 4, despite barreling through the other titles in the series with relative ease.
I’m not saying the puzzles in The Room 4 are harder than the previous entries, but they challenged me. They’re also some of the best I’ve encountered so far in any of The Room games. Puzzles range from mechanically manipulating objects to get them to fit or move the way you want, to puzzles that require you to remember small details or hunt for clues. The puzzles almost give a sense of tactile interaction, which is something more apparent in the mobile versions, but manage to translate over to mouse use as well. If you get stuck–and you will get stuck– there’s an in-game hint system to help you out.
If you’ve played The Room: Old Sins on mobile, The Room 4: Old Sins isn’t an entirely new experience. It’s definitely worth checking out for its increased graphical fidelity. The Room 4 is one of the best looking The Room titles, which adds to the joy of exploring each of the puzzle rooms, and interacting with the gorgeously rendered objects and puzzles within.
The Room series is unrivaled in puzzle box style puzzles and gameplay. The Room 4: Old Sins is another great entry in an already impressive series. By focusing on the dollhouse, The Room 4 is able to have puzzles and objects that are interdependent. If you ever saw a video of someone manipulating an intricate puzzle box, and always wanted a shot at it, The Room series is your best option digitally–and The Room 4: Old Sins is more of a great thing.
The Room 4: Old Sins is available now on Steam.
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