[REVIEW] The Room 4: Old Sins – Welcome to the Dollhouse

I’ve been spending a lot of time in my Room lately. To make matters worse, I – a 37-year-old gamer – have been playing around with a dollhouse. A dollhouse, I tell you. Don’t ask me why, but I have to admit I loved every second of it. But let me put all of this into context. I wouldn’t want you to get the idea that I’m having imaginary tea parties with Barbie, Action Man, and a bent out of shape Sketelor from the ’80s. Not at all. I’ve been wandering around Waldegrave Manor in Fireproof Games’ The Room 4: Old Sins, which happens to revolve around a very mysterious type of dollhouse.

As you might have guessed after simply reading the title, The Room 4: Old Sins is the fourth main installment in the series, if we keep The Room VR: A Dark Matter out of the equation. Just like the other three main games, Old Sins is a point-and-click first-person environmental puzzle game in which Fireproof Games tries to tell you a story but mostly sends you on fetch quests for well-hidden items within the scenery. To get to the needed items, all kinds of brainteasing puzzles are scattered around the place, waiting for you to unravel them. It may sound awfully boring, but it rarely is.

Why? Because the entire The Room franchise is really good at making you feel stupid and smart at the same time. Every cleverly thought-out puzzle is primed to test your wits by sometimes being totally obvious, only to smack your brain around minutes later. For example, approaching a cabinet and opening up its drawer is one of those actions that are just right in front of you – so no brain pain there – but the item inside might totally throw you for a loop. What’s it for? Why doesn’t it fit anywhere? Probably because there’s a secret button somewhere, leading you to another puzzle where you might need it. Luckily, the game will provide you with hints when you seem to get snagged, so you’ll never get truly stuck.

Still, The Room 4 feels somewhat different from all other puzzle games that I’ve played in the past months, even though it reuses things that I’ve seen in other The Room games and leans on mechanics that games like House of DaVinci utilize. Stuff like a special eyeglass to see into other dimensions aren’t really new anymore, but it does keep The Room 4 interesting, even if it occasionally misses the mark. But the way Fireproof Games keeps sending me back to all the different settings in this frickin’ dollhouse kept me going and going for four hours straight, just to hit me with a mysterious cutscene and the end credits.

If you ask me, I could’ve stayed in Waldegrave Manor a lot longer without regretting it. Setting aside that The Room 4 isn’t an action-packed game with multiple outcomes and a lot to render, it looks absolutely stunning. Every puzzle is detailed to perfection, every item looks like it could pop right out of your monitor. Even the water coming from the fountain in the yard looks quite convincing. It almost made me wish that The Room 4 had a Photo Mode, but I guess beggars can’t be choosers.

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Beggars, you ask? Well yes, considering that The Room 4: Old Sins can be purchased for a lousy $8,99 (or €7,99). As mentioned before, that price tag will grant you approximately 4 hours of head cracking gameplay, give or take. I’ve seen people beating the game in less than 3 hours, but I’ve also seen screenshots of folks taking up to 8 hours to get the job done. Maybe the latter took the time to enjoy the scenery or read every page of the story’s script to the letter, who will tell. All I can say is that The Room 4: Old Sins is well worth its price tag.

Will there be more of The Room 4 coming after this? The end certainly seems to give ‘room’ for speculation and I wouldn’t mind if Fireproof Games made this game episodic. Nonetheless, the future of The Room will remain a puzzle for now. A puzzle to which I haven’t found the clue yet. “You’re tearing me apart!”

A helluva dolled up puzzle game
The Yays
Absolutely Gorgeous!
Makes you feel super smart after making you feel dumb as fuck
Well thought out puzzles
Plenty of challenging gameplay for a low price
The Nays
Some puzzles might feel a little daft