A Golden Wake

PC - Rating: 6/10

Although I’d give them props for creating a game with a truly unique theme, this Wadjet Eye adventure falls a bit flat. The game is set during the 1920’s land boom of southern Florida and focuses on the player-character, Alfie Banks. Essentially it’s a character study, but, unfortunately, interactive storytelling doesn’t lend itself to well so such narratives. Games excel at mood and environment but creating riveting characters just doesn’t seem to fit the medium all that well. Without a strong narrative plot focus (i.e. save the princess or defeat the evil villain) it’s hard to justify the extra time spent clicking options and parsing dialog trees to get to the same point that a short paragraph of exposition would.

The best adventure games are ones in which the plot and mood develops as the player explores and interacts with the environment. In A Golden Wake there is no sense of discovery. You are told what you need to do and your options are limited. The author just wants to paint his portrait and the puzzles are just a customary nuisance put there to force you to click on stuff. “Puzzles” may be too strong a word. In 90% of the game you are just following a path, clicking on all the objects and waiting for the next section to open up.

But still, the theme and setting are novel and they were enough to keep me mindlessly clicking. I love, love, loved the 1920 dance scene that was featured in the trailer (and the above screenshot) for all its pixelrific glory. Unfortunately the game didn’t quite meet my expectations. Flapper DDR needs to be made. Left, right, left, left, charleston…

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