A new house, a new investigator and a brand-new complex set of puzzles to reach the Null element and discover the tale of those who fell to it. This is The Room: Old Sins.
Genre(s): Adventure | Puzzle
Developer: Fireproof Games
Publisher: Fireproof Games
Release Date: January 2018
Played Full story
Purchase At: iOS App Store
Ever since I first played the first title in Fireproof Games’ The Room series, I’ve been hooked, and when I had a chance to play the latest, The Room: Old Sins at EGX Rezzed in 2017, I’ve been going crazy with the anticipation of playing through the full game.
The moment I learned of The Room: Old Sins’ release on iOS I went ahead and bought it and over the course of the next few days I explored every corner of the new world and puzzle boxes Fireproof Games have crafted for us.
The Room: Old Sins is something of a reboot to the series. With the protagonist of the original trilogy done, a new investigator takes his place, coming to find the Null element, hidden inside a Dollhouse behind a series of complex mechanisms and rooms only accessible to someone with the now iconic The Room eyepiece, which not only reveals secrets but also allows interaction with things affected by the Null element.
Previous instalments in the series told you the story of those who have come in contact with the Null, through notes and diaries, some of the main character and their ally, but mostly just scattered pieces of information about unrelated characters leaving their mark. In The Room: Old Sins all notes you find relate to the Dollhouse’s owners, a couple who slowly fell victim to the corrupting influence of the Null element, and who are related to the main character, as they all work for a mysterious organisation called The Circle, which has a vested interest in the acquisition of Null samples.
The plot is great and the stories of the characters are wonderful, showing a clear deterioration of the relationships between husband and wife, how the Null does its usual thing of corrupting the mind, making the husband obsess with it to the point of becoming violent while still claiming to be doing everything for his wife’s happiness.
It’s a pretty damn good story of eldritch-horror induced madness.
When I played The Room 3 I didn’t think Fireproof could outdo themselves with the puzzle design, but they really have, with puzzles that have direct effects on other rooms, and mechanisms, resulting in some of the most ingenious applications of logic in the entire series. It’s possible for you to become stuck because you can’t imagine how to ring the bell on the Dollhouse, but then you realise how the rooms connect with one another and the outer frame of the Dollhouse and you can see where the solutions might be.
In The Room: Old Sins, Fireproof games centres the entirety of your experience on the dollhouse and its rooms. You never travel between rooms and parts of the house as you do on The Room 3, but even so, The Room: Old Sins feels like a game as big if not bigger at times than its predecessor. Fireproof Games designed the dollhouse in a way that every corner of it becomes part of the increasingly complex puzzles.
Fortunately, for those needing a bit of a hand, The Room: Old Sins continues the tradition of including a three-answer hint system, each hint becoming available as the game recognises you’ve been idle for far too long and haven’t made any progress on puzzles.
Visually, it’s as stunning as ever and I absolutely adore the level of detail that goes into each room of the dollhouse. The little house itself is gorgeous, but it’s the inner rooms you explore with the eyepiece that make the small wooden house feel lived in, feel alive, as if the owners had lived inside its tiny walls and not in the main house where it sits. There are scattered notes, trophies, artwork and it all speaks of those who lived there and had their lives destroyed by the Null element.
On the sound department, despite how good it is and how effective the chilling sound effects are and how the minimalist but ominous music can be, I did feel there was a bit of recycling going on. The main theme is there of course, and that’s fine, I absolutely adore it. But in terms of the rest of the music, the ominous background melodies, I’ve heard them before. Would have liked some changes there.
The Room: Old Sins is not only another master class in puzzle design and the best in the series so far, showing how much puzzle-goodness you can cram into a dollhouse, but the beginning of a new chapter in the ever-complex saga of the Null element, and considering the game’s ending, I can only become more excited about the future of this series, as it promises some wonderful twists and turns!
6/5 – Highlander!