Wadjet Eye and Grundislav Games take us to a time of hope, promise, and affordable real estate.
Wadjet Eye Games has become synonymous with high-quality storytelling. This year alone we’ve covered and enjoyed their Blackwell series, as well as the sci-fi adventure Gemini Rue, and now they have yet another point-and-click story to tell. Meanwhile, Grundislav Games has been gaining a following with their Ben Jordan: Paranormal Investigator series. It seems writing about the paranormal has brought the two studios together, as A Golden Wake brings Wadjet Eye and Grundislav Games to 1920s America, in Miami Florida. We got a preview build to check out, and after playing the first couple of hours, some impressions are inbound.
A Golden Wake trades in the haunted streets of New York City and the vastness of space for a simpler time. Set in America during the roaring ’20s, this game follows the footsteps of Alfred Banks, a real estate agent who heads to the sunny and promising land of Florida to make a fresh start in the industry, following bad blood brewing at his NYC workplace. Miami’s sunny streets are booming with the promise of new growth, business and enterprise, all of which look quite enticing to an out-of-town entrepreneur. When the promising and lucrative Coral Gables project becomes a common name, Alfred Banks decides he has to get in on the action. Alfie will find friends and foes along the way to success, all against the backdrop of the Great Depression coming on the horizon.
Visually speaking, the game so far has not ceased to impress. From Miami’s quiet residential districts to the busier parts of town, everything bustled with visual life. Wadjet’s graphics continue to get better and better with every game, all while still retaining their signature pixel art style. A great soundtrack evocative of the era of the game’s setting help matters further, and I found myself snapping my fingers along to the sound after a while.
Once you make it to Miami and are greeted by those sunny visuals and hoppin’ tunes, the main game becomes one part simple point-and-click fare and one part puzzle-solving that goes into a category I would describe as “Highlights magazine puzzles.” One, for example, will give you a list of things to find in the view of a room before you. Click a thing, it gets circled, and some dialogue plays that moves stuff forward. Other puzzles might have you do things like study the needs of individual people in order to match them with the right houses. So far, puzzles such as these do a good job at changing up the pace and adding some variety to the game.
Thusly, though, A Golden Wake has yet to provide a really substantial hook to anyone not attracted to the early 1900s motif. If you eat up anything bearing that turn-of-the-century aesthetic, there will be some enjoyment to be found here, but as of now, it’s hard to say whether A Golden Wake really provides anything other than real estate, good music, and a healthy dose of American history. The game comes out this September, so check back here for a full review then.