Two years after its release on mobile, The Room 4: Old Sins makes its way to PC, with graphical updates and all. I’m a big fan of these little indie puzzlers and powered through this series a couple years ago, I even reviewed the third one for this website. So yeah, of course I’m gonna be excited for the next entry.
So what excited me about The Room 4 was that it was a bit of a return to form for the series, kind of. The Room 3 was a big departure in that the scale of the game was a lot bigger than the first two, with puzzles spanning multiple rooms and there being multiple endings and all that. It strayed away from what made the first two great – that being intricately designed puzzles limited to a small space. The Room 4 scales it back a bit, still featuring room-spanning puzzles (albeit in a doll house), but not going quite all out like the third game.
The puzzles are more compact, not requiring as much movement and not spreading out the solution in a tedious way (although it does do this a bit towards the end). You’ll get your fair share of puzzle boxes, desks and cabinets with all sorts of hidden compartments and switches, and some of the more weird occult stuff that can only be seen with an eyepiece equipped – an additional layer of depth on top of the already nice puzzle design.
The game overall does a good job with pacing, not keeping you stuck on one puzzle or mechanic for too long and keeping things interesting by swapping between all of these different puzzle formats in a way that doesn’t come off as jarring. It can get quite creative at times, and that’s what I like about this series.
As for the difficulty, it’s about on par with the third game, which I won’t deny was a bit disappointing to see. It’s easier than the first two and does some significant handholding by giving you hints outside of the actual “hints” feature. For example, you’ll try to place an object only to be told that “no, that doesn’t go there and maybe something in the room can tell you where to put it.” There were still some difficult puzzles, but they were in the minority this time.
The Room 4 is also shorter than the third game. It took me just over three hours to clear, whereas the third took me four hours and the first two took me two hours each. It’s kinda sandwiched in the center there – which is not even a bad thing given the excellent sense of pacing here. I should note that there really isn’t any replayability though as the game loses the multiple endings thing that the third had – instead offering a more linear experience. The idea of multiple endings is great on paper, but I honestly prefer this approach if it can bring the experience more inline with the original – which is still my favorite in the series.
Aside from that gameplay though, there is also a story element. It’s primarily told through entries in a journal and letters that you find while playing, so nothing too involved. In fact, you can play this game as your first in the series and be fine – the story is just this extra thing for those that care about the lore. It’s actually less present than in the third game, but there is still a bit to unpack here for those that want to get deeper into it – I personally didn’t care for it.
With regards to graphics, The Room 4 is fine. It doesn’t look any different from the past few in the series, all of which looked good, so no real change needed here. It’s much better than what the mobile game looked like if anything. Similar things can be said about the sound design and music. The former is as good as its ever been while the latter is pretty much nonexistent. The game sticks with ambience in place of music for most of the experience, which may sound bad, but actually lends to the atmosphere a bit as the sound design takes center stage.
I also had no issues with crashes, freezing, or bugs of any kind. It ran perfectly at 1440p and 144 fps with the only setting I changed being effects, which for some reason would dunk my fps down to 70-80 by itself – so I kept that at medium instead of high.
The controls are also the exact same. You can tell they are adapted from touch controls, but they’re not bad. Zooming in and out is seamless and interacting and moving around objects with the mouse is no issue. The only complaint I have is the same I had with the past three games – that being the game limits how fast you can interact with it (like having to wait for a full zoom-in to complete before placing an object). Otherwise, it’s solid.
The Room 4: Old Sins is yet another nice addition to the series, bringing with it some great puzzle design and a really solid sense of pacing. It may not be as good as the first two in the series, but it’s definitely better than the third – with more compact puzzle designs and a better sense of scale. If you’re a fan of these shorter indie puzzlers, you can jump right in here without even playing the others, although the entire series is worth a play.
Quote: The Room 4: Old Sins is yet another nice addition to the series, bringing with it some great puzzle design and a really solid sense of pacing – a definite improvement over the third game.
You can buy The Room 4: Old Sins on Steam here. The game is also available on iOS and Android, albeit not the upgraded version like the PC release.
I was provided a review copy of the game in order to write this review. Read more about how I do my game reviews here.