In The Case of the Golden Idol review, we talk about why this point-and-click adventure deserves your full attention.
Some decades-old genres, particularly in the independent scene, are still incredibly popular and evolving over the years, while that of graphic adventures has long been neglected after the golden age of white LucasArts discs, even by realities rather alternative and non-conformist of India. It’s no coincidence that Return to Monkey Island has been able to garner so much attention, not only has it represented the return of one of the most iconic symbols in the entire medium, but also the opportunity to return to point-and-click play for all those , who were dramatically widowed by this type of experience.
We urged you to keep an eye on it when you tried it a few weeks ago, but if you recognize yourself in the category just mentioned, you should give serious thought to approaching The Case of the Golden Idol, a detective- Adventure tip and click that managed to pique our interest thanks to the demo published on Steam by Color gray games, an independent Latvian studio consisting of only two developers, Ernests and Andrejs Klevins. The game is available starting today, and it’s finally time to reveal if all the potential that has emerged from the demo has materialized.
Let’s find out in the Review of The Fall of the Golden Idol..
Idols, Sects and Curses
Violent murders, unfortunate accidents, mysterious crimes. All linked to a single object, a golden idol that seems to bring great fortune to its owner, but also an untimely and particularly violent end. There are twelve i cases that the game of the Klevins brothers stages with a great pixel art graphic style and by solving each of them we can slowly reconstruct the story of the idol through the generations, even if from a certain point the title focuses on one small cast of recurring characters very easy to absorb thanks to a great characterization that mainly deals with their cunning and misdeeds.
However, every detail about the characters can only and always be conquered through the analysis of the evidence, because yes, The Case of the Golden Idol is certainly not a classic interactive adventure and in a way not at all, since the title it is not given by a protagonist nor supported by a real screenplay.
It’s the player who, through the clues and in first person, has to piece together the pieces of a complicated game resulting action whose pieces magically fit together, scenario after scenario, in often very unexpected ways, building a story full of unexpected twists and turns.
The most striking thing about the story of The Case of the Golden Idol, the coherence with which the hidden threads of the story intersect without creating plot holes and other narrative imperfections is a very elusive goal for the Latvian studio given the lack of a traditional narrator. During the roughly 8 hours of gameplay it took us to get to the end credits, only one small detail of the story clashed with everything else. Well, that single element then unfolded into the main twist of the entire adventure, so we can’t help but commend Ernests and Andrejs for the quality and harmony expressed through the narrative component of their debut title.
Solve cases with words
Another great virtue of The Case of the Golden Idol is that a investigative gameplay really extraordinary, in which the clues are represented by the words that the player reveals by carefully examining the game’s scenarios. Basically, each case is divided into two distinct phases, the first in which we are engaged in searching for words within the environment and the second in which the latter are used to reconstruct a diary that explains what happened to the victim has happened. The true point-and-click soul of the title developed by the Klevins brothers is revealed in the first phase, as it takes a keen eye and a great deal of observation to find every clue, while missing even one can lead to missing a fundamental piece in the reconstruction of the crime. The game includes a mode in which the points of interest are constantly highlighted, but although we were forced to activate it a few times during our adventure, the advice is to leave it disabled at first and then only use it in case of difficulties .
If the early stages of investigating the classic dynamics of interactive adventure follow, it’s there deductive phase represent a major novelty in the investigative genre. The reasoning screen changes from scenario to scenario, but generally involves creating a journal using the words learned from exploring the environment, with the sole aim of finding out what happened to the victim. However, each level has other specific sections that are very useful to confirm the preliminary conclusions before trying to solve the case. For example, the first crimes include a plaque with portraits of the characters involved, which can be filled in by giving each of them a name. If the choice is correct, the words used are removed from the field of hypotheses, making it easier to proceed step by step without engaging in useless experiments.
In the Latvian studio’s game, the solution always lies beneath the surface of the documentary evidence and never emerges clearly, even when looking at the big picture. The real star of The Case of the Golden Idol is its plain and simple deduction procedure, which often forces the investigator to regress through exclusion, since there is often a lack of direct evidence that could pin the perpetrators to their crimes. Precisely for this reason, the first levels will not be able to appeal very much to those accustomed to puzzles and puzzles, while the advanced stages of the story managed to really plunge us into a crisis, even if we never had to resort to suggestions, who makes the game accessible to everyone, is stuck in the reconstruction of the case.
The only flaw in the formula studied by the Klevins brothers is that, with a limited number of fields in the journal where you can type the words when a piece is missing, you can do cunning by trial and error without having to play the game the exercise affects anyway. For some, this will be a convenient way out of the tightest of situations, but we would have liked a more streamlined approach. Another big detail to be warned about is that the title is currently not included any form of Italian localization and since it is a concentrated experience on words and reading comprehension, it could be really difficult to fully enjoy The Case of the Golden Idol if you don’t know a word of English.
Given the graphic style the game is taking on, there’s not much to say about its technical component, so we’ll be occupying these lines to celebrate the highly inspired Artistic Director from The Case of the Golden Idol, which not only features exquisite pixel art enriched by a very particular drawing style, but spices everything up with an iconic soundtrack that really suits the atmosphere of the title created by Color Gray Games. Undeniable values of Latvian production that only raise the voice we have chosen to award it even more.
- The story, captivating and well written, follows spontaneously from the clues
- Truly original investigative gameplay
- art direction to be commended
- The game is entirely text-based and the Italian localization is missing
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