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The Room: Old Sins – lavishly tactile locked box puzzler

Developer: Fireproof Games
Price: $5/£5
Size: 1.1 GB
Version: 1.0.3
Platform: iPhone & iPad

Get The Room 4

Update! The Room: Old Sins has had just one minor update since we reviewed it, and it was for bug fixes. We took the game for another spin to see if it still holds up.

So what’s new? There’s a new The Room on the market, but it’s for VR platforms only. This means that The Room: Old Sins is still the most current, polished, and technically impressive iteration of the venerable series. Playing it today, it still stands as one of the most opulent and downright immersive puzzlers on the App Store. There have been The Room imitators ever since the very first game arrived, but nothing has yet bested it. In short, The Room: Old Sins is as good as ever.

Revised rating: The apex of immersive locked box puzzlers. Still. ★★★★½


Our original review, written in February 2018, is presented in its entirety below.

The Room series to date is made up of three exquisitely made locked box puzzlers, each saturated with a deeply creepy “Victorian horror” atmosphere.

This fourth game in the series ticks all of the same boxes, which might come as a bit of a disappointment to those who were excited by Fireproof’s promise of a fresh start.

All of the game’s puzzles are set within the rooms of a creepy dollhouse

While The Room: Old Sins certainly won’t win any awards for originality, however, it’s impossible not to be dragged in and beguiled by its peculiar charms all over again. The level of time, attention and ingenuity lavished upon this game is uncommon to say the least.

Like its predecessors, The Room: Old Sins is that special kind of mobile puzzler that simply wouldn’t work half as well on a non-touchscreen device. It presents you with a series of intricate 3D clockwork contraptions, each of which must be interacted with to access hidden compartments, slide-out trays, and other mysteries sequestered away in their antique forms.

Some of the rooms are just plain creepy

Getting these dusty trinkets to give up their secrets is most of the fun, and The Room: Old Sins retains the franchise’s status as the most tactile puzzler around. The sensation of physically interacting with metal sliders, rotating wheels, hinged flaps and clicky switches is palpable.

All of this was as true of the first game as it is the latest, of course, but where The Room: Old Sins improves on previous games (the first two in particular) is in the way it grounds the puzzles within a cohesive environment. We hesitate to say “realistic,” given that the setting is an infernal dollhouse filled with inter-dimensional portals and an unspeakable Lovecraftian horror.

You’ll need your trusty eyepiece to spot hidden clues

But this miniaturized mansion feels like a real place that both contains the game’s puzzles and is a puzzle of its own. The way that you must dip in and out of its themed rooms, using components found in one to unlock sections of another, is quite ingenious.

The Room: Old Sins places a certain amount of trust in the player’s ability to join the dots in a logical fashion, but it’s also just really well calibrated to subtly signpost where a new component might go and what to look out for. As long as you’re paying attention, you shouldn’t find yourself impossibly stuck too often, if at all.

A tragic story unfolds through a series of scattered diary entries

On those occasions where you are a little stumped, The Room: Old Sins has a thoughtful drip-fed hint system that nudges you in the right direction without instantly giving the game away.

It all looks absolutely stunning, with some of the finest naturalistic textures in gaming and the odd trippy inter-dimensional light show for good measure. You’ll want to plug in your headphones too, as the moody soundtrack and the subtle squeaks and groans of each contraption really complete the immersive effect.

You’ll need your three-dimensional wits about you

While The Room: Old Sins might lack the freshness factor of the first couple of games, series veterans are getting arguably the finest entry of the four. Newcomers are free to start here without prior knowledge of the series, and may well find that they’ve discovered their new favorite game.