The Room 4: Old Sins Review

Explore puzzles within contraptions within otherworldly apparatuses in The Room 4: Old Sins.

Format: PC via Steam
First playthrough time: 3.5 hours

The Room 4  Old Sins. A lab strewn with papers with a large metal machine along one wall and equation-covered chalkboards.

Released Feb 11th, 2021 by Fireproof Games

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Quick Overview

Major Pros:
  • Intricate contraptions
  • Tactical simulation of manipulating objects
Major Cons:
  • None
Minor Pros:
  • Continuation of the creepy background narrative
Minor Cons:
  • Some strange film-based effects
The Room 4  Old Sins. A view through a lens at a hexagonal box in the center of a small table. A glowing symbol is visible under it.

The Room series’ signature lens

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In-Depth Review

The Room 4: Old Sins is a 3D puzzle exploration game. Players must investigate their surroundings, to find pieces to progressively more intricate contraptions. Very much like prior games in the series, The Room 4 can be thought of as a digital puzzle box that manipulates the scale of human perception until physics no longer makes sense yet players still crave to find an even smaller contraption under the next lid.

The Room 4  Old Sins. An elongated pagoda tower with a series of metal wires, switches, and levers along its midsection.

An ever-expanding model pagoda

One of the main features of The Room series is featured prominently within The Room 4, and that is the physical feeling of turn gears, pulling levers, opening panels, and other tactical interactions of manipulating the contraptions. Where other games say ‘press E to use’, The Room allows to reach out and manipulate all the tiny details of a contraption without feeling clunky or overly sensitive. This provides an incredible level of engagement. Turned the key the wrong way? Players will see and hear it jiggle and stop in the lock just as they might when trying to unlock a door in real life. This breathes an immense amount of realism into the bizarre contraptions that seem to use every ounce of interior space to fit more foldout panels, boxes, and drawers.

The Room 4  Old Sins. A large multistory victorian model mansion with working lights. It is focused with a spotlight and appears to be located in an attic.

What mysteries does it hide within?

Despite the seemingly impossible mechanical marvels featured in The Room 4, the game provides a very realistic and detailed world. The Room 4 goes back to the original roots of the first The Room game, focusing entirely on a single mechanical dollhouse that contains more and more secrets. Using the advances from the story of the prior games, players can shrink their perspective and move deeper and deeper into the dollhouse and the contraptions therein, examining machines of impossibly small size while feeling full scale. The environment is fleshed out with details to the point that the player has to investigate each new room thoroughly to see all the things they can interact with. The detail, textures, and lighting of these spaces work wonders to make the surroundings feel realistic and make it easy for players to identify how what they’re looking at all fits and folds together.

The Room 4  Old Sins. A veiled laboratory within the model house. The screen seems stained black around the outside.

A room within the model house, but how to enter?

The one thing I was a little iffy on in The Room 4 was some of the film-based sections. In contrast with the typical 3D rendering of The Room series, The Room 4 had a few effects that were clearly filmed or adapted from film. These were pretty rare, but I didn’t feel like they lived up to the quality of the rest of the game. This was a pretty minor thing and very rarely used, but I think the same story could have been communicated with the traditional notes and letters typical of The Room series.

The Room 4  Old Sins. A book titled A Manual for the Steam Engine by Tomas Woodbridge. The book is latched shut, but appears brunt and steaming around under the lock.

Pieces of the story are told through notes hidden in books

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Recommendation

Overall, I greatly enjoy The Room 4: Old Sins. I thought it was another great installment in the series and it continued to dazzle me with the intricate contraptions and tactical detail of manipulating them. I liked the little breadcrumbs of the background story to bring the world to life and the realistic visuals. I did find the film-based effects out-of-place, but this was a pretty minor thing. I recommend The Room 4: Old Sins to fans of the series and new players interested in investigative puzzles.

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