The Case of the Golden Idol

released on Oct 13, 2022

A new kind of detective game that allows you to think and investigate freely. Discover clues surrounding 12 strange and gruesome deaths and build your own theory. Pick your suspect, deduce the motive, unmask the awful truth.

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I haven't played Return of the Obra Dinn so I can't compare it to that but if it's as good as this I am interested. Solving murder mysteries and discovering the lengths people go for power was fun in this game. It was never too hard finding the answers though there were some that made me scratch my head a little. I love this art style and overall really enjoyed this game

Following in the footsteps of RETURN OF THE OBRA DINN with a graceful and exciting macro-narrative told across a bunch of discrete mini-mysteries. Manages a pretty good ending, but I feel like it maybe could have been a bit longer. Also a couple of the "levels" are a bit too focused on calculation to be as much fun as the big murder whodunits.
That's it for gripes, though - this is great. I really like that we're getting good new detective games now.

If you are insufferable like me and occasionally try to get people outside of the medium into video games then this might be the best one to get them genuinely interested.
Solving a well-thought-out 17th-century murder case by gathering evidence, understanding contextual clues, and identifying suspects, all behind the accessible comfort of using only a mouse, makes true-crime jennys giddy.
The way some of these vignettes tell a story, pieces scattered across the scene with the right amount of context missing is brilliantly executed, rewarding to put together and sometimes genuinely beautiful.
The pixilated art style toes the perfect line between readable and crude, almost mad magazine-esque adult cartoon. The pixels look like they all stink.

Tbh while playing I wasn't sure if the ending and the main plot are trying to say something specific because the only message I got felt pretty dumb. So I kinda just chalked it up to gameplay ideas informing the story. Then after finishing the game, I read Epiglottis review who said it better than I ever could when they called the place the story ends up in "soft-brained 'tyranny of forced equality' territory". And yea, I got the same vibe.
One of the things Obra Dinn undeniably has above the golden idol is its interesting use of audio and sound design (hearing the victim's last moment). You can play the golden idol with the sound muted and it wouldn't make a difference (except atmospherically of course). That felt a bit disappointing to me, but I also have to admit that I don't see a good possibility to further implement sound without just ripping off obra dinn ideas or changing how the game feels in general. So maybe it's good they didn't.
Next time you want to get your adult friends or family members into video games pull out this one and play a chapter with them.

Very well done puzzle game.
Please please give this a try on whatever platform.

I sure do love obradinn-likes.

I am very glad that detective games, if we can count that as its own genre, continue to exist.
Exist but also innovate.
It is very easy to compare this title to Return of the Obra Dinn, which is a blessing and a curse.
It’s a blessing because Obra Dinn is a classic, a cult favourite and the type of game there isn’t much of so the people who want it, and I include myself among them, need whatever version of it they can get.
However the curse comes along because the comparisons mean that this will always feel “less than”, it will always be compared and it feels almost impossible to rate it purely on its own merits.
Less than greatness though is barely an insult though and Golden Idol at least tries to do things differently.
You’re not a character directly in a story but one piecing it together. You are just figuring who people are out, although a major factor, but finding evidence and words to piece together their stories.
Golden Idol is also quite funny, seeing these 18th century idiots fight, backstab, lie and deceive each other inks a wonderful tale that is ludicrous but also quite interesting.
As the game moves forwards through the different scenes you start seeing returning faces or notice connections from chapters prior and it does a good job to paint the world but also start you thinking about where it may end.
Sadly though not all chapters are created equal and some of them feel less of an advancement and more just, well, more.
I can’t help but continue to go back to the Obra Dinn comparisons and it pains me to be so blunt about what is a good game but it doesn’t have one factor of that comparison where it wins.
The comedy helps to keep them apart but boiling it down they’re too similar and Golden Idol is just not as good.
If it were just a case of aesthetics I couldn’t rate it so lowly, but the biggest and hardest thing to explain is the game “felt” much worse.
You’re not a detective as such in Golden Idol and honestly I think it hinders it, major parts of the puzzle I found I didn’t solve with detective-like logic but just plain grammar.
I want to feel like I’m a detective with these games, not that I’m looking back at one of these backloggd reviews and noticing I skipped a word or completely misspelt something.
As I said earlier though, the game is good and if you want a bit more of that Obra Dinn type of game in your life then grab this. There’s also recently been some DLC too.